CTV News Northern Ontario

November 3, 2019

TIMMINS – Mothers Against Drunk Driving Timmins brought community members together to kick off its annual Red Ribbon Campaign.

It held a vigil for victims of drunken driving accidents and a silent auction to raise money for the organization.

Organizers say the struggle to bring down impaired driving incidents across the country means they have to take every opportunity they can to raise awareness of its lasting impact.

“Impaired driving isn’t an accident, it doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a choice, it’s a criminal offence at the end of the day. And to that, these are people in my community.  These are my friends, my family, your friends and family. I think it’s important that this is something we work hard towards eliminating,” says Amy St. Amour, MADD President.

Those who attended the event are avid supporters of MADD’s mission, each with their own reason for supporting the cause.

“Considering I have kids, especially teenagers, and I see so many teenagers actually leave us too early. I support because as a mom, you worry about those things,” explained an attendee.

Impaired driving incidents across Canada have stayed steady in recently, with Timmins Police citing its annual impaired driving number at around 35 to 65 incidents for the past three years.

Timmins Police Chief John Gauthier says number in impaired driving are especially concerning, and the key to reducing those numbers is maintaining a consistent approach.

“We’re going to continue to do what we do, and that’s partnering with MADD or the Ontario Provincial Police from time to time. We not only enforce the rules of the road, but we get on the winter trails,” says Gauthier.

He adds that the Timmins Police Service will have two trained Drug Recognition Experts by the end of the year.

Officials say it takes involvement from everyone in the community to drive the message home, do not get behind the wheel if you’re impaired.