The Oshawa Express
November 18, 2020

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has launched its annual holiday campaign with a simple message: don’t drink and drive.

Trisha Dosaj Makarov, president of MADD Durham, says the Project Red Ribbon campaign targets the Christmas and New Year holiday season because it’s the busiest time of year on most social calendars.

“Even though the usual parties and celebrations may be limited this year, the holiday season is still a busy time on our roads, and there is still a high risk for impaired driving,” she says.

“If you’re going to have fun, we do urge people to take a few minutes to plan ahead.”

She adds if a person is planning to consume alcohol or cannabis, leave the car at home, take an Uber, taxi or public transit, arrange a designated driver, or spend the night.

Makarov adds it’s not only important to know not to drive while under the influence, but also not to ride with a driver who has been consuming alcohol, cannabis, or any other drug that impairs their ability to drive.

Makarov notes the red ribbon is a symbol of the importance of always driving sober.

The campaign, which raises awareness about the risks of impaired driving and to honour victims and survivors, kicked off earlier this month.

Throughout the campaign, which runs until Jan. 4, 2021, red ribbons and red ribbon car decals are distributed to the public to display as a symbol of their commitment to sober driving.

“Our red ribbons serve as a reminder to everyone that if you are going to be consuming alcohol, cannabis or other drugs, plan ahead for a sober ride home. Driving impaired is just never worth the risk,” states MADD Canada National President Jaymie-Lyne Hancock, noting the ribbons also serve as a powerful tribute to the thousands of victims killed or injured each year in crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs.

Makarov notes the Red Ribbon campaign also coincides with the Durham Regional Police Festive R.I.D.E. season.

In 2019, 19,624 vehicles were stopped by R.I.D.E., 787 people were given roadside breath tests, and 86 people received three, seven or 30-day suspensions for registering a “warn,” according to Makarov.

Last year, in total, 104 people were charged with drinking and driving offences, four drug offences, and seven cannabis act offences.

“Just because they’ve legalized cannabis, does not mean you can drive while high,” says Makarov. “That’s still against the law.”

“If you do see a driver you suspect is impaired, call 911 – that call could save a life.”

To get a red ribbon or red ribbon car decal, visit www.madd.ca, call 1-800-665-6233 or email info@madd.ca.