Oakville, Ontario – Victims and survivors of impaired driving are meeting with select Members of Parliament and Senators this Impaired Driving Prevention Week (March 19 – 25) to gather support for in-car technology that has the potential to virtually end alcohol-impaired driving.
Sharing their personal stories to illustrate the real impact of impaired driving, victims and survivors are asking Members of Parliament and Senators to support making impaired driving prevention technology a standard feature in all new vehicles.
“This technology can save lives, prevent injuries and spare so many from a lifetime of grief and heartache,” said MADD Canada National President Jaymie-Lyne Hancock whose brother DJ Hancock was killed by an impaired driver in 2014. “If anti-impaired driving technology existed a few years ago, DJ might still be with us. He would have gone to university. He would have celebrated holidays with his family. He would have been at my wedding last year.”
Advanced technology exists now, and more is being developed, that can detect whether a driver is impaired and stop the car from moving or bring it to a safe stop. The technology includes: sensor systems that detect alcohol levels through touch or ambient air; monitoring systems that look at vehicle movement, such as lane departures; and systems that monitor a driver’s head and eye movement and pupil dilation.
In November 2021, President Biden signed legislation that will require all new cars and trucks to be equipped with advanced anti-impaired driving technology by 2027. A 2022 Ipsos poll showed that 9 out of 10 Americans support technology that is integrated into a car’s electronics to prevent drunk driving.
MADD Canada believes similar legislation is needed in Canada, and, together with the victims and survivors we support, is calling on the Canadian government to make advanced impaired driving prevention technology a standard safety feature in all new vehicles, similar to seatbelts, airbags and anti-lock brakes.
Canadians can lend their voices to this initiative by visiting www.stopimpaireddriving.ca to send a letter to their Member of Parliament.
“It’s important to emphasize that this technology is nothing like an alcohol ignition interlock or a breathalyzer which require a breath sample from the driver,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Steve Sullivan. “This technology is virtually invisible for sober drivers; they do not have to take any action.”
“We understand it will take some time for all vehicles on the road to have this technology, but the sooner we start, the sooner we begin to save lives and prevent injuries,” Ms. Hancock said. “Impaired driving costs Canadian society billions of dollars annually. But the price paid by those families who lose a loved one or by those who suffer serious injuries cannot be measured in dollars.”
Established in 2018 and designated for the third week of March every year, National Impaired Driving Prevention Week encourages all Canadians to help prevent impaired driving and keep roads safe. MADD Canada joins governments, law enforcement agencies and community organizations to bring attention to the impaired driving problem and how to prevent it.
As part of Impaired Driving Prevention 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.
To learn more about technology to prevent impaired driving, please visit https://madd.ca/pages/impaired-driving/stopping-impaired-driving/technology/ .
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:
Jaymie-Lyne Hancock, MADD Canada National President, 705-623-3148 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Sullivan, MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer, 1-800-665-6233 ext. 224, email@example.com
Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager, 1-800-665-6233, ext 240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.