MAAD launches annual Red Ribbon campaign

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St. Stephen – MAAD Charlotte County launched its annual Red Ribbon campaign at the Garcelon Civic Center Friday night in St. Stephen.

Andrea Holland, president of the Charlotte County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the campaign was designed to raise awareness of the dangers of driving drunk or impaired by drugs.

The slogan for this 29th annual national campaign is “tie it, wear it, show it, share it and live it” as a sign of an individual’s commitment to sober driving.

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Holland and other chapter members handed out the bright red ribbons. “They can tie the ribbons to their purse, their cars, key chains, to signify they are against impaired driving,” explained Holland.

Holland said impaired driving is still an issue in the county as well as the country.

“We are still seeing it and that’s the problem. It’s still there. It’s still out there. We need to push the message that much harder to eradicate it for at least the next generation.”

Holland said the volunteer group is also seeking donations to fund its activities such as the presentations it makes to schools where they try to impress upon the students the dangers of drinking and driving.

She said statistics show alcohol or drugs are involved in 58 per cent of all road crash deaths. Every year in Canada, hundreds of people are killed and tens of thousands are injured in crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs.

“These deaths and injuries are one hundred per cent preventable,” stated Holland.

“Impaired driving is not an ‘accident’ – someone makes a decision to get behind the wheel impaired.”

She said the holiday season is one of the busiest times on the road and on social calendars. Holland urged people to plan ahead and make arrangements for taxi or a designated driver, or to even spend the night.

“A few minutes spent planning a sober ride home could prevent a tragedy from happening. Impaired driving is never worth the risk, to yourself or to others on the road with you.”

MAAD’s mission is to stop impaired driving and to support victims of this violent crime. It offers support and resources to individuals who have lost a loved one or suffered a serious injury as a result of an impaired-driving crash, and produces specialized programming for students to educate them about the dangers of mixing alcohol and/or drugs with driving.

It also promotes legislative best practices, at both the federal and provincial/territorial levels, to better address the impaired driving problem in Canada and partners with international traffic safety organizations, automobile manufacturers and technology companies to explore technological solutions to stop impaired driving.