MADD walks for everyday heroes

Andrew Robinson
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Awareness event preaches dangers of impaired driving

An organization striving to convince people to think twice before driving while impaired took that message to the streets of Paradise Saturday morning.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Avalon’s Strides for Change walk attracted close to 100 people. Some held flowers while walking to remember victims of fatal accidents involving impaired drivers, and the superhero outfits worn by children referenced to the event’s theme honouring everyday heroes.

Service NL Minister Dan Crummell held the scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Avalon’s Strides for Change walk Saturday in Paradise. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

“It’s about paying tribute and thanking the various everyday heroes who help in the fight against impaired driving,” explained Wayne Power, president of the Avalon chapter of MADD.

“That’s our police officers who are on the streets every day enforcing the laws, our firefighters and EMS (emergency medical services) professionals who are first on the scene in most cases when incidents happen, as well as everyday individuals. The citizens in the community who take it upon themselves to call 911 and report impaired drivers. They may play the role of a designated driver and even just make the commitment to drive safe and sober.”

Power is a trained emergency medical responder.

“You see first-hand the incidents that happen — the tragedy it causes for families.”

Impaired driving incidents are reported almost every day in this province. In the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s overnight report issued Saturday morning, two such incidents were highlighted.

A young man, 17, was pulled over in Mount Pearl Friday evening due to a report of a possible impaired driver. Police issued the driver a seven-day suspension. Shortly after midnight, the RNC stopped a vehicle on Stavanger Drive in St. John’s and arrested a 36-year-old woman for impaired driving and refusing the breathalyzer.

Service NL Minister Dan Crummell is responsible for highway safety in the province. Speaking Saturday morning at Rotary Paradise Youth and Community Centre shortly before the walk started, he said there remains plenty of work to do to prevent people from making the wrong choice when it comes to impaired driving.

His also made allusions to the habits of previous generations who were perhaps less vigilant when considering the dangers of drinking and driving.

“I know my 21-year-old daughters — I have two of them — and my son who is 17, they totally get it. They totally understand that we can’t do what we’ve done in the past. We’ve got to make sure we change our ways. But not everybody is getting it. We’ve all got to have that conversation ... to explain to people that it’s unacceptable to drink and drive. We’ve got to keep people from getting on our highways and causing this type of carnage that is absolutely unacceptable in today’s society and yesterday’s society and your society.”

According to MADD Canada, an estimated three to four people die each day in Canada due to an accident involving impaired driving.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: MADD, EMS, Community Centre

Geographic location: Avalon, Mount Pearl, Canada

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