Holiday RIDE program launched today


Kathy Mitchell of Stouffville  joined MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, after her niece, shown in a photo, was killed. A driver faces impaired charges in the incident

Four people a day are killed in Canada due to impaired driving.

One hundred and thirty five people are injured on a daily basis in Canada due to impaired driving, according to Kathy Mitchell, president of MADD York Region.

During last year’s  Festive RIDE/Project Red Ribbon Campaign, 62 drivers were arrested for being impaired by alcohol and three drivers were arrested for being impaired by drug, according to York Regional Police.

To many, these are just statistics.

To  others, these numbers represent lost brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, children and friends.

On Aug. 11, 2011, Ms Mitchell’s family was forever changed when her 23-year-old niece was killed by an alleged drunk driver.

The case remains before the courts. A trial date is set for April.

Prior to that horrific day, during the holiday season, the Stouffville resident always bought a red ribbon and tied it around her vehicle’s antenna.

Now in its 26 year, MADD’s red ribbon campaign remains a symbol of the organization’s efforts to eradicate impaired driving and as a tribute to people who have been killed or injured in impaired driving crashes.

“A red ribbon on a vehicle might hopefully make a person think twice about getting in a car impaired or getting in a car with an impaired driver,” Ms Mitchell said.

Now, more than ever, she understands the meaning behind the red ribbon campaign.

Money raised from the crusade pays for the MADD school assembly program, which provides a realistic look at the ramifications of impaired driving.

York Regional Police will kick off its 2013 Festive Season RIDE program and the MADD Red Ribbon Campaign at Markham’s Milliken Mills High School today.

Despite TV and radio commercials as well as RIDE spot checks held throughout the year, people continue to drink and drive.

“It won’t happen to them,” is Ms Mitchell’s only explanation as to why it continues.

That is why Ms Mitchell and MADD are pushing for legislation that would allow police officers to randomly pull drivers over for breath tests.

In 1989, when Australia re-structured its random breath testing legislation, the driver/rider death rate for people with an alcohol level of 0.05 per cent dropped from 113 in 1989 to 49 in 1994, according to Drive and Stay Alive’s random breath testing in the State of Victoria, Australia website.

Random breath tests reduced total crashes in New Zealand by 14 per cent. In Ireland, total road fatalities fell by 19 per cent in the 12-month period following the enactment of random breath testing in mid-2006, according to a report on the MADD Canada website by a pair of professors from Western University’s faculty of law.

Police do not typically respond to proposed legislative changes, wrote Const. Andy Pattenden in an e-mail to The Sun-Tribune when asked to comment on whether or not random breath tests were feasible here.

“Impaired driving, by drug or alcohol, is a senseless and preventable crime that continues to destroy the lives of innocent people every day. York Regional Police has devoted significant resources to the fight against impaired driving, be it by alcohol or drugs. We continue to work closely with community partners such as MADD Canada to help spread the message that impaired driving, by drug or alcohol will not be tolerated,” Const. Pattenden, told the York Region Media Group via e-mail

Source: York Region

Last updated on: 2013-11-28 | Link to this post