CTV News Northern Ontario

November 22, 2019

NORTH BAY – The holiday season is just upon us, and it’s time again for the Red Ribbon Campaign.

An event in North Bay saw the Ontario Provincial Police and the Nipissing chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving joined together to remind people not to drink and drive.

Among those who attended the event was Elaine Commanda who lost her brother 17 years ago. He was 47 when he was killed by an impaired driver.

“He was very community involved and he loved to fish and he was very close to his family,” said Commanda.

All she wants now is that drivers get the message that it’s never okay to get behind the wheel while drunk or high.

“Don’t even second guess it. Take a taxi, call a friend… because one split second everyone is affected.”

Provincial Police in the North Bay area have arrested and charged 55 drivers with impaired drive, a small spike compared to recent years.

“A lot of our investigations come from collisions and we get a lot of investigations through traffic complaints… we encourage drivers to call 911 if you think you’re following an impaired driver,” said Constable Shona Camirand, OPP.

MADD Nipissing President Erin Celebre said that when it comes to drinking and driving “despite all of the efforts, the numbers are still going up and even hearing it go up by one is something we don’t want to hear.”

Insurance agencies say the financial implications of a conviction are severe. In some instances, costs can range upward of $40,000 within a few years after the court process.

“That’s when they’re paying significantly increased premiums. You can see six, seven or eight thousand dollars a year for insurance and that can continue for multiple years,” explained Bryan Gauthier, Allstate Insurance.

All concerned hope drivers realize the cost of drinking and driving is too high a price to pay for the drive home.