June 16th, 2024

MADD Lethbridge & Area launches Project Red Ribbon Campaign


By Erika Mathieu SOUTHERN ALBERTA NEWSPAPERS ssnews@sunnysouthnews.com on November 26, 2022.

Southern Alberta Newspapers photo Officials and first responders cut the ribbon on MADD Canada's Red Ribbon campaign Friday in Coaldale.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDssnews@sunnysouthnews.com

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada has launched its holiday Red Ribbon campaign to stress the importance of always driving sober, especially with holiday social season well underway.

The annual red ribbon campaign kicked off on Friday at the Coaldale Fire Station and runs from Nov. 1 to Jan. 2. During this time, MADD Canada chapters partner with community leaders to hand out red ribbons, and car decals, as part of the public awareness campaign toward eliminating occurrences of impaired driving for good. The ribbons have become a recognizable symbol to victims and those impacted by impaired driving.

The event brought together volunteers and community leaders, and survivors, to share their personal stories on the ways they have been profoundly impacted by impaired drivers.

President of the MADD Lethbridge & Area chapter, Anita Huchala tearfully read a speech on behalf of Barnaby Provost’s oldest daughter, Tess, who lost her father five years ago when she was just 12 to an impaired driver.

“My dad was everything to me; he loved me like any dad should, every night, every morning, every time he saw me he told me how much he loved me. He did that for all my siblings because he wanted us to know how much he loved all of us. Which hurts the most because we loved him just as much.”

“To this day, I keep his teachings and lessons with me. There were times when I wanted to give up, but I think about my dad and remind myself he wanted me to keep pushing.”

A MADD report published in Oct. 2021 showed there were 86,964 charges and short-term suspensions laid in Canada, of which 11,704 (or 13 per cent) occurred in Alberta. Every day, 32 drivers in Alberta receive a provincial suspension or federal charge for impaired driving. For every hour that passes, 10 federal charges and short-term suspensions are laid for alcohol and drug-impaired driving.

Traffic Sgt. Daniel Lomness, of the Lethbridge Police Service (LPS), said the LPS will be conducting more frequent checkstops in the city in the coming weeks.

“Lethbridge police are dedicated to keeping road users safe, by moving impaired drivers off the road.”

In 2021, the LPS charged or issued sanctions to 272 drivers, a figure traffic Lomness said is coming down.

“So far in 2022, we’ve issued or charged 180 drivers. As that number is coming down I think some people are making more responsible decisions, but we definitely still have some work to do.”

So far in 2022, there have been 37 collisions in Lethbridge where alcohol and/or drugs has been a factor.

“If you know you’re going out, think about calling an Uber or a taxi. Talk to your friends and family members,” added Lomness, and encouraged people to utilize services such as Operation Red Nose especially during the busy holiday social calendar, if needed.

“You always have a choice; there is always an alternative way home,” said Lomness. 

Red Ribbons and car decals are available at participating businesses across the city, or at the Lethbridge Police Detachment. For more information on MADD, visit www. MADD.ca.

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