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National Impaired Driving Prevention Week March 17-23

National Press Release – March 15, 2024

National Impaired Driving Prevention Week –

Combatting Impaired Driving Requires Holistic Approach

Oakville, Ontario – March 17 – 23, 2023 is National Impaired Driving Prevention Week. MADD Canada is proud to join governments, law enforcement agencies and community organizations in raising awareness about the risks and consequences of impaired driving with the goal of preventing it. Throughout the week, MADD Canada will be sharing messages about the risks and consequences of impaired driving, highlighting the ways it can be prevented, and recognizing the innocent victims and survivors of this crime.

Despite the progress that has been made, impaired driving is still one of the leading causes of criminal death in Canada. Hundreds of Canadians are killed every year and thousands more are injured. The toll on victims and survivors is devastating and the costs to society is in the billions of dollars every year.

MADD Canada’s National President, Tanya Hansen Pratt, knows all too well the real cost of impaired driving. “My mother, Beryl, was killed by an impaired driver in 1999. There are thousands of families like mine, and many more Canadians who have suffered life altering injuries. Impaired driving remains a significantly concern for Canadians given the impact it has on individuals and families from every part of the country, every culture and every socioeconomic class. All levels of Government need to re-dedicate their efforts to combatting impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries.”

Last year during Prevention Week, MADD Canada met with Federal Government Ministers and Opposition Members to discuss United States’ legislation mandating all new cars be equipped with anti-impaired driving technology. We are pleased that the Government is following the progress in the US and considering similar changes in Canada to protect Canadians.

Alcohol impaired driving remains a serious public safety risk despite progress and MADD Canada continues to encourage police services across the country to use Mandatory Alcohol Screening at every lawful traffic stop.

Drug impaired driving also endangers Canadians and according to Public Safety Canada, is on the rise. “In most jurisdictions across Canada, data sources (population surveys, roadside surveys, police-reported incidents, as well as coroners’ toxicological analyses) tend to indicate an ongoing trend over the past 10-12 years of DID incidents increasing as a proportion of all impaired-driving incidents, with cannabis being one the most frequently detected class of drug among drivers.”[1] [1] https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2022-did-fad/index-en.aspx

MADD Canada has asked the Federal Government to host a National Summit to Combat Drug Impaired Driving much like they did with car theft.

MADD Canada recognizes the role all levels of government play in making our roads safer. This is why MADD Canada has called on all provincial and territorial governments to implement an Immediate Roadside Prohibition program, like those implemented in BC, Alberta and Manitoba. BC saw reductions in the number of impaired driving deaths and injuries while also reducing the burden on the criminal justice system and the resources required to process cases.

Municipalities are responsible for the safety of roads in their communities and many crashes take place on municipal roads. It is essential that municipalities work with their police services to prioritize road safety as high-profile enforcement can be an effective deterrent.

During this week, MADD Canada is also hosting its A Candle For online campaign. Canadians can show their support for those impacted by impaired driving by taking a photo or video of themselves lighting a candle for all victims and survivors. Participants are encouraged to use the #acandlefor hashtag and tag MADD Canada so we can like and share the posts.

“Anytime someone gets behind the wheel impaired by alcohol, cannabis or other drugs, they put themselves, their passengers and everyone on the road with them at risk,” Mrs. Hansen Pratt said. “The deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving are 100% preventable. Please always drive sober or arrange for a ride home.”

About MADD Canada
MADD Canada is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving, and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. To learn more, visit www.madd.ca.

For more information, contact:
Tanya Hansen Pratt, MADD Canada National President, 705-623-3148, thansenpratt@madd.ca

Eric Dumschat, MADD Canada Legal Director, 1-800-665-6233, ext. 229, edumschat@madd.ca

Steve Sullivan, MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer, 1-800-665-6233 ext. 224, ssullivan@madd.ca

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