Prince Albert Now
Aug
ust 26, 2019

Seeing new faces at the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) walk was bittersweet for Karen Anthony-Burns. While the MADD member was grateful for the support, she knew that many were there to find community with others who, like her, had lost loved ones to impaired driving.

“As much as we think we’re making a difference obviously there are still people who are making a choice to drive impaired, otherwise we wouldn’t have more people coming out,” she told paNOW.

Around forty people participated in the Strides for Change event on Sunday at the Elks Lodge. The walk raised money for the Prince Albert chapter of MADD.

Trina Cockle founded the group five years ago after witnessing the crash that killed Ben Darchuk.

“There is nothing more important to us than making sure this doesn’t happen to more families,” she told the crowd gathered at the event.

According to Prince Albert Police Chief Jonathon Bergen, impaired driving offenses are down 33 per cent from last year, despite an increased police presence on the roads.

Still, Anthony-Burns says there’s a lot about the drinking culture in the province that needs to change.

“It is a pretty common thing in Saskatchewan for people to think you go out somewhere, you go golfing, you have some drinks, and then you hop in the car and you drive home,” she said.

A bench, dedicated to all those affected by impaired driving, was also unveiled along the Rotary Trail at the event. It will sit nearby a similar one in memorial to Anthony-Burn’s son. Daniel was struck and killed by a driver in an alcohol-related crash in 2010. While these kinds of memorials are often placed in cemeteries, it was important to Anthony-Burns that these benches be in a public place.

“It’s our hope that those who see the bench will pause and reflect about the tragic consequences of impaired driving and that they will influence others in their life to make the right decision not to drive impaired,” she said.