December 5, 2017

Mothers Against Drunk Driving clearly need more people in their camp as we barrel head-long into Christmas and New Years.

MADD’s most recent campaign ‘Drive Safe-Drive Sober’ sees illuminated roadside signage plugged in at eight locations across the province – but the question remains, is it enough?

In just one week, on the heels of MADD’s campaign launch, three drivers were arrested in an equal number of days for drunk driving in East Prince.

One, a female was alleged to have twice the limit of alcohol in her blood than is tolerated by law; the second saw a male with three times the legal limit, according to a police report, and the third arrest is still under investigation but “charges are anticipated.”

MADD cannot solve the issue of people driving drunk alone. Neither can police create a dragnet that encompasses every dirt road, short cut, highway or secondary road to ensure drunk drivers aren’t a threat to themselves and others.

Signage that raises awareness of the ongoing issue of drunk driving, motorists using cellphones while behind the wheel or any other type of distraction is in a sense preaching to the choir.

Or is it?

If just one driver sees one of MADD’s roadside flashing signs and has second thoughts about getting behind the wheel after drinking, the initiative hasn’t been in vain.

Or if just one sober driver sees the sign and is reminded to be more vigilant of others sharing the road and reports suspicious drivers to police, the campaign has accomplished something positive.

The ideal is to reach zero tolerance in regards to drunk driving and even baby steps can expand into great strides with proactive attitudes.

Statistics tell us 1,250 to 1,500 people are killed and 63,000 are injured in impaired-related crashes every year in Canada. The numbers are terrifying.

PEI is small but its MADD organization is determined. Members hope the pilot message board project will lead to the rollout of a nationwide program.

MADD PEI has the government’s blessing in this campaign, it’s not too much to ask residents to jump on the bandwagon and offer their support too – for everyone’s sake.

MADD’s Red Ribbon campaign, symbolic of bringing awareness and help in the fight against impaired driving, is three decades old and is held prior to Christmas when the risk increases.

The more people who join the battle to make PEI roads safer the better it is for all Islanders.

You wouldn’t stand by and watch a neighbour’s house burn down without trying to save its occupants. Then why would anyone watch someone drive away drunk and not try to save them?

Attitudes must change and the value of human lives be reaffirmed.

Heather Moore is editor of The Eastern Graphic. She can be reached at