Aug 09, 2013 - IMPAIRED DRIVING: VICTIMS KNOW IT'S NEVER WORTH THE RISK

The video ‘Just One,’ was produced by Riverview High School students near Sydney this spring. It was a joint project of school liaison officer Const. Mike Rolfe, student council, Safe Grad,and the music program. Nashville-based artist Lisa Shaffer gave permission for the use of her song.

 

 


EDITOR’S NOTE: The following opinion piece was submitted by Susan MacAskill, chapter services manager, Atlantic Region, MADD Canada.


People give plenty of excuses and justifications when they get behind the wheel impaired.

“I’ve only had a few.” “I feel fine to drive.” “I’m only going down the street.”

The excuses are never valid. And they are utterly meaningless when an impaired driver kills or injures someone.

It happens more than many people realize.

MADD Canada says from 1,250 to 1,500 people are killed and more than 63,000 are injured in impairment-related crashes in this country every year.

The numbers are staggering. They are all the more tragic because every single one of those deaths and injuries is preventable.

The crash that devastated Charline Manuel and changed her life forever did not have to happen.

“One minute, I was living my life, enjoying my family and looking forward to starting a new job,” Charline said. “The next minute, I was lying on the ground with injuries so severe that I will never fully recover from them.”

The New Brunswick mother of two was out for a walk when a truck being driven by an impaired driver came up onto the sidewalk and struck her from behind.

She went over the hood of the vehicle and then fell underneath. The driver did not stop. Charline was dragged under the truck, which ran over her body. The injuries were horrific. Her pelvis was shattered. An arm, leg and ankle were broken. She suffered head injuries.

“The doctors have said it was a miracle I survived,” Charline said.

The recovery has been unimaginable. In the 11 years since the crash, Charline has undergone 31 surgeries and countless hours of rehabilitation. The pain she still experiences now will be with her the rest of her life.

As she went through years of physical and emotional recovery, Charline decided that she wanted something positive to come from something so terrible. She wanted to help stop impaired driving and protect others from having to endure the trauma and pain she has been through.

“My life today is not at all what I thought it would be,” Charline said. “It has been hard to get to this stage. It’s hard to really describe everything that I’ve been through. But I am here, and I am thankful for that. If I can help prevent this from happening to someone else, I will do everything I can to make that happen.”

Charline joined MADD Canada and began to volunteer. As part of her local chapter, she helps raise awareness through programs such as the Project Red Ribbon holiday campaign. She helps the organization promote public policies to strengthen impaired driving laws, such as improved administrative sanctions at the provincial level and random breath testing at the federal level.

Among the most rewarding work she does is her outreach to young people. Charline visits schools to share her story. She talks about the crash, about the injuries, and how she continues to put her life back together.

She doesn’t want young people, or anyone else, to feel sorry for her. She wants them to take her story to heart and to remember it. She wants them to know that one single decision can change lives in an instance.

“I want young people to really understand that all of this was caused by one person’s decision to drive after they had been drinking,” Charline said.

“If at some point, a young person is faced with the choice of picking up the car keys or putting them down after they have been drinking, I want them to remember my story and put those keys away. I want them to realize that driving impaired is never worth the risk. If I can make even one person realize that, I will have accomplished something great.

Source: Chronicle Herald


 

Last updated on: 2013-08-09 | Link to this post