MADD’s Red Ribbon Campaign underway

Nancy
Nancy MacPhee
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SUMMERSIDE — Dave Griffin has seen first-hand the impact that impaired driving has on not only the lives of those who get behind the wheel drunk, but also its victims.

East Prince MADD Chapter member Dave Griffin shows the latest promotional material for this year’s Project Red Ribbon Campaign.

Griffin, a member of the East Prince MADD chapter, is aretired police officer and spent 40 years with the Summerside police force.

“I saw a lot of serious injuries and deaths caused by impaired driving. We just want to get the message out about impaired driving,” said Griffin. “It is so difficult when police go to the door and tell someone that their daughter or son has been killed in a motor vehicle accident because liquor was involved.

“It’s a sad, sad thing.”

That’s the entire purpose of MADD’s Project Red Ribbon Campaign, which launched last week and is ongoing until Jan. 4.

The aim of the campaign is to bring awareness to the public not to drink and drive.

Locally, donation boxes are situated at various businesses for anyone wishing to making a donation and pick up a red ribbon. Text donations of $5 can also be made by texting MADD to 45678.

“All serious injuries and deaths resulting from an impaired driver are preventable. Driving while drinking is totally unacceptable,” said Griffin. “The courts on P.E.I. are dealing with a very high percentage of impaired drivers ranging from teenage years to seniors in their 70s and 80s, both males and females.

“This is alarming to say the least.”

A report released earlier this year by Statistics Canada showed that the rate of impaired driving incidences in this province rose 23 per cent from 2001 to 2011, with most of that increase since 2005.

Over the same period, the rate of incidences in the country fell two per cent.

At 493 incidents per 100,000 population the rate of drunk driving on the Island was almost double the national rate of 262 incidents per 100,000 in 2011.

Saskatchewan was the only province to post a higher rate.

Griffin said there is no clear indication as to why impaired driving is so prevalent in this province.

“We are focusing on education. There are too many impaired drivers,” he added. “We are not going to stop them all, but the message is not getting through.”

If planning to drink Griffin said leave the car at home.

“Last week there were something like four impaired drivers caught in Kings County,” he added. “We can only strive and hope that the more awareness we have out there, the more the message will catch on.”

Legislation recently passed will enable police to charge a suspected impaired driver with a reading of .09, an effort applauded by MADD, said Griffin.

For more information on Project Red Ribbon or the mandate of MADD Canada and its programs and chapters, visit www.madd.ca.

 

nmacphee@journalpioneer.com

 

 

Organizations: MADD, Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Summerside, Saskatchewan, Kings

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