With the holiday season just around the corner, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Saskatoon has launched its annual campaign to promote sober driving.
Project Red Ribbon raises awareness about the risks of impaired driving when celebrations include alcohol, cannabis or other drugs.
The ribbons symbolize a person’s commitment to drive safe and sober and also serve as a moving tribute to those killed or injured in impaired driving crashes.
“We ask people to put them on their backpacks, their mirrors in their vehicle, their purses, wherever you think you would show accordingly,” MADD Saskatoon president Bonny Stevenson said.
“We have the little red ribbon boxes that anyone can request to have in their business, that people can pick up the red ribbons or a window static and take them for their own.
“We’ve got a few events coming up. We’re going to be in the Santa Claus parade … We work, on average, two checkstops a month with (Saskatoon Police Service) or Corman Park (Police Service) and we’ll be handing out red ribbons at those.”
Stevenson, whose son was killed by a drunk driver in Saskatoon, shared how important the campaign is to her.
“It means a lot to me. In 2013, we lost our 17-year-old son, Quinn. Anything we can do to stop people from getting behind the wheel when they’re impaired is huge for us because we really want to make sure no more families ever suffer the loss and the pain that we did,” she said.
“For me, death by impaired driver, it’s not an accident. It’s a choice to get behind the wheel and we ask people to always make that correct choice.”
MADD Saskatoon is urging people to plan ahead for a sober ride home this holiday season.
“Of course, during the holiday season, there are always far more parties, get-togethers … If you’re going out for an evening where you plan to be drinking or smoking cannabis or whatever it might be, you plan that safe ride before you head out,” Stevenson said.
“We have a great partnership with Riide and all the other cab companies. Call a friend, stay on a couch. Gosh, call mom and dad.
“Because I can guarantee you mom or dad won’t be upset at all about getting woke up at 3:00 in the morning to go pick you up. But they will be upset when they have an officer standing at the door telling them their son or daughter is deceased.”
According to MADD Canada’s latest statistics, an average of 10 impaired driving federal charges and provincial short-term licence suspensions are laid in the country every hour.
The campaign runs until Jan. 3, 2022, and red ribbons are available from MADD Saskatoon at email@example.com or 306-290-8278.