Red Ribbon campaign launches and encourages Canadians not to drive impaired
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) officially launched the 30th annual Project Red Ribbon campaign, a project designed to discourage drunk driving over the holidays.
“[The Red Ribbon] was a visible reminder to drive safe and sober, because, for many years, our statistics stay the same,” said Denise Dubyk, a director with the MADD Calgary chapter.
The purpose of the Red Ribbon campaign is to raise awareness about the impact of impaired driving by having a visual reminder so that people can make the active choice to not drive inebriated.
According to the MADD 2015/16 annual report, Canada has one of the worst rates of impaired driving in the developed world, with 58 per cent of motor vehicle crashes in the country having drugs and or alcohol involved.
“Everyone in our community needs to be aware of traffic safety, impaired driving is something that can affect anyone at anytime. It is a violent tragedy that we can prevent by bringing more awareness and education and all coming together to keep the reminder out there to drive safe and sober,” said Dubyk.
An impaired driving accident has an impact far beyond just the impaired driver. Effects span lifetimes, said Dubyk, saying how an impaired car crash can result in deaths or life-long debilitating injuries.
Aaron Libby, a military captain on medical leave and social worker, was a victim of an impaired driver. In July of 2013 during the Calgary Stampede, an impaired driver going west in an eastbound lane struck Libby.
“For me, it’s an everyday struggle. My cocktail of meds a couple times a day and just chronic pain. I’ve lost two careers [and was] told I’ll never work again,” said Libby.
The impaired driver served 8 months and 12 days of a 13-month sentence.
Libby spent 72 days in four different hospitals. He had trauma to his aorta, liver and spine. He had a collapsed lung, broken ribs, collarbone, sternum, tibia and fibula, coupled with 16 months of dental work.
“I have plates and screws from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet,” said Libby.
“It’s not worth it. It’s 100 per cent preventable.”
There are lots of ways to prevent drunk driving, taking a cab, riding the bus, having a designated driver, taking an Uber or even calling your parents are all options.
“We need to plan ahead,” said Dubyk.
There is also a service in Calgary called Keys Please.
Keys Please has two drivers arrive at your location. One driver takes your vehicle home and another picks up the driver after everyone in your vehicle is safely at their destination.
“We need to know how we are going to get home if we are going to have a few drinks. Don’t take your vehicle in the first place, prepare a ride home by having a designated driver, call a cab, take public transit or stay over wherever you are,” said Dubyk.
Red ribbons are available through the MADD office, CO-OP liquor stores, The Weal and Allstate offices.
“It’s not about not going out and having a few drinks it’s about getting behind the wheel after you have,” said Dubyk.
“Don’t mix the two.”