Durham students draw powerful drunk driving messages on LCBO bags for annual campaign

Click to play video: 'Students decorate LCBO bags with bold statements on drunk driving' Students decorate LCBO bags with bold statements on drunk driving
The campaign 'think before you drink' had students decorate thousands of bags with anti-impaired driving statements. – Dec 3, 2019

A victim of impaired driving is praising a local campaign that incorporates students designing thousands of LCBO bags featuring blunt slogans in opposition to drinking and driving.

But Trisha Dosaj Makarov says it’s frustrating, this is what it’s come to — kids taking the role of warning adults.

“They’re having to tell us, the grown-ups, what is right to do, which is interesting,” she says.

Dosaj Makarov, who now works with MADD’s Durham chapter, was involved in an impaired driving collision while on a trip in Aruba more than six years ago. Her sister and her niece were both killed when a driver t-boned their car while they were on a family vacation. It’s her hope this messaging campaign sticks when people buy their booze.

READ MORE: 2 impaired driving arrests made in Lindsay over the weekend: City of Kawartha Lakes police

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“Obviously, people aren’t getting it. … However, it needs to get out — it’s definitely important,” says Dosaj Makarov.

It’s a campaign now in its fourth year — in a partnership with the LCBO. Students from across the region submitted designs, with the top 10 being selected for a prize.

“The more us students come together and communities come together to promote awareness, then the more residents may think before getting behind the wheel before drinking,” says Lia Canavan.

More than 40,000 bags were decorated for the initiative.

Const. Ron Carquez with Durham Regional Police has been working with the program for the past few years. He helped judge thousands of bags and says seeing these ideas coming from young minds is a great thing to see for the next generation.

“The messaging on the bags, is just great,” says Carquez. “Aside from the artwork, it’s phenomenal for the fact that these messages are coming from young children.”

READ MORE: Woman charged with impaired driving after Festive RIDE check in Selwyn Township

The messages range from, “Don’t mix cheers with gears,” to the more hard-hitting, like, “If you have no brain cells, you’ll end up in a cell.”

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And they are desperately needed, according to Chief Paul Martin, who says the latest festive ride results show 46 charges over the past three weeks.

“It’s a sad commentary on the fact that people aren’t getting the message,” says Martin. “Don’t drink and drive, our festive rides out there and you will be caught.”

Although the warnings are coming from kids and teens — it’s something Dosaj Makarov agrees may help.

“It’s unfiltered. It’s not diluted and it’s direct messaging, so here’s hoping it works.”

The bags will be handed out across the Durham region starting this weekend.


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