Lethbridge Herald
August 1, 2020

Lethbridge residents will get a visceral reminder of the costs of drinking and driving as the Mothers Against Drunk Driving crashed car impaired driving initiative goes on display in various areas of the community throughout the month of August.

The display recreates an accident scene with an overturned and wrecked car flanked by an RCMP and Lethbridge Police Service vehicle as well as a hearse donated by Cornerstone Funeral Home.

The jarring display is important, said MADD Lethbridge and Area chapter president Anita Huchala, because many people are still not getting the message about the dangers of impaired driving. According to the LPS, there were 175 individuals charged with impaired driving in 2019, and 62 charges have been laid as of June in 2020.

“Obviously, we need to be doing something more to get our message out there, and get these people to stop driving impaired and make these roadways safe,” said Huchala.

Cst. Brent Paxman of the LPS Traffic Unit concurred.

“Anything that can get our numbers down is a positive in my mind,” he said. “Something like this can maybe get to some of the younger drivers, and get them to change their ways before they get in too deep. Anything that can be visible, out there, and in our minds is a good thing.”

Paxman said if people will not stop impaired driving for the sake of others whom they might kill or seriously injure if they get into an accident, maybe they will think twice about it if they understand the full consequences of being caught and charged under the law.

“If you are fortunate enough to get caught instead of crash, the penalties have increased since the new impaired-driving laws came into place in 2018,” he explained.

“Essentially the judges would set a minimum fine of $1,500 along with an immediate (year-long) suspension of your licence, the seizure of your vehicle, and along with a criminal record attached to that at the end of the day.”

Paxman hoped those heading out for long weekend festivities over the next few days might keep these consequences in mind before drinking, or taking any other intoxicating substances, and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Huchala also added her thoughts on the subject.

“Go out,” she said. “Have fun. But make a plan. Pick somebody who is willing to stay sober, and have a designated driver. Or they can book a cab or take an Uber. Or if they can, if at all possible, stay where they are.”

MADD will announce the locations of the crashed car impaired driving initiative display in the coming days once those are finalized.