The Toronto chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) joined Toronto police, firefighters, paramedics, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Ontario government, city of Toronto and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada on Tuesday to kick off the Project Red Ribbon.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of MADD Canada’s Red Ribbon campaign, during which Canadians are asked to tie a red MADD ribbon to a vehicle, backpack, purse, key chain or briefcase.
The ribbons symbolize both the innocent victims and survivors of impaired driving, according to a Toronto Police Service news release.
“It covers a simple message. It is also, at the same time, sad that we still need to have this campaign,” said Toronto Police Service Deputy Chief Barbara McLean.
Several representatives were asked to speak at the launch, including several police officers, the minister of transportation, and parents who have themselves lost children to impaired driving collisions.
“Not a second of the day or the night goes by that I don’t think about my daughter. It changes you forever, irreversibly. In the speed of a second, because of the erratic, arrogant and irresponsible behaviour of a drunk driver, she was gone,” said Aalya Tsaneva, who lost her daughter.
According to the presentation, four Canadians are killed every day in crashes involving alcohol or drugs. In addition, between 175 and 200 people are injured.
“That means that four Canadians are getting a knock on their door from a police officer saying that a loved one has been killed by an impaired driver,” said MADD Toronto president Everilda Ratnakumar in a speech during the kickoff event.
Red ribbons are available at the MADD Toronto office, Allstate Canada offices and LCBO stores, beginning Dec. 1. In addition, MADD Toronto volunteers will be handing out ribbons at select TTC subway stations during rush hour between Nov. 27 and 30.
With files from Caryn Lieberman.