What exactly is Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) and how will it save lives?
As MADD Canada’s new National President, I’ve noticed how often these questions have been asked. It seems like everyone is wondering if MAS, which gives police the authority to demand a breath sample from any driver lawfully pulled over, will keep their loved ones safer on Canada’s roads.
I whole-heartedly believe that it will.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. All over the world, MAS is widely recognized as one of the most effective means of deterring impaired driving. It’s been adopted in comparable, developed countries, resulting in significant and sustained reductions in alcohol-related crashes.
In fact, given the results in other countries where MAS is being used, MADD Canada estimates the measure will reduce impaired driving in this country by about 20% annually. That’s more than 200 lives saved and more than 12,000 injuries prevented every year.
I’m grateful for this opportunity to introduce myself and tell you personally how much your support is appreciated. Your thoughtful gift of will help us do even more to keep our roads safe from impaired drivers.
With any new law, there are bound to be questions. I hope the information at https://madd.ca/pages/impaired-driving/public-policy-initiatives/random-breath-testing/ will answer all of the questions you might have about MAS.
I have a question too – one that sometimes keeps me awake at night. If MAS had been around six years ago, would my beloved brother, DJ, still be alive today?
I’ll never forget the August night DJ was taken from us. I was at home while he and my parents were at the hockey rink. You see, DJ was trying out for the Junior A team. My 18-year-old brother really was something to watch on the ice.
Suddenly, my mom called, hyperventilating. DJ’s car had been hit head on by an impaired driver. My parents, who had left a few minutes after him, drove up to the crash and found DJ pinned in the car. My dad rubbed his chest while my mom waited by the ambulance.
I immediately rushed to the hospital, where I waited outside for the ambulance. Never in my life have I felt so helpless. And then my dad called, changing my life forever. DJ had passed away, still pinned in his car. My baby brother was gone.
After the crash, nothing made sense anymore. We went from a family of four to a family of three. I went from having a sibling to being an only child. My parents developed post-traumatic stress disorder from witnessing the crash and I was riddled with a ton of anxiety.
And then, MADD Canada came into our lives. We went to the National Conference for Victims of Impaired Driving and I felt cared for as soon as I walked in the door. I felt like I belonged somewhere again. It’s then that I realized how much MADD Canada could help me.
Today, I’m very proud of everything MADD Canada is doing to save lives. And, I’m so grateful for our caring donors. It’s because of donor giving that we’re able to educate students and increase awareness about impaired driving through programs like our School Assembly Program, Campaign 911 and Project Red Ribbon. It’s how we can be there with support and understanding for the 20,000 devastated victims/survivors who turn to us each year.
And, your support is the reason we can keep fighting the fight of impaired driving, and push for new life-saving measures like MAS.
The important thing is to give today. Our work is far from over and your support is urgently needed to build on our momentum. We must do whatever we can to help ensure our roads are safe to drive for our loved ones. We can’t do it without you.
Like so many of you, COVID-19 is presenting challenges to MADD Canada with reality changing on a daily basis. But certainly, our first goal is to ensure the safety of our volunteers, staff and the public. We are encouraging staff and volunteers to suspend any public activities; to make use of email/telephone rather than in-person meetings; and we will continue to support victims/survivors in the safest means possible.
The news of this virus has brought much uncertainty. For some it has created a wall of isolation – no more so than victims of impaired driving who are already dealing with painful emotions. If you would like to bring more of an uplifting feeling into your world and the world of others – please consider sending a gift to MADD Canada. I know you will help when you can, and together we will continue to be there for victims who need our support. Thank you so much for all you do, and please stay healthy and safe.