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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Home News ‘It’s far too many’: MADD members raise concerns about impaired drivers at annual Smashed Car Campaign kick-off

‘It’s far too many’: MADD members raise concerns about impaired drivers at annual Smashed Car Campaign kick-off

‘It’s far too many’: MADD members raise concerns about impaired drivers at annual Smashed Car Campaign kick-off
Drivers will be able to view this smashed car display north of Prince Albert along Hwy 2 for the next month. MADD Prince Albert has picked out two other locations around the city. The smashed vehicle will be on display from May until September. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert police officers have charged motorists with impaired driving at 21 locations in 2023, and that’s 21 locations too many for MADD Canada.

The organization’s Prince Albert chapter officially launched its 2023 Smashed Car Campaign on Thursday. MADD Prince Albert representative Karen Anthony-Burns said it’s frustrating to see so many impaired drivers through the first four months of the year.

“I think it’s far too many,” Anthony-Burns said following the campaign launch. “We need to be zero. When there are 21, you think of how many people could have been potentially injured or kill.”

Members of Beaulac Funeral Home and the Prince Albert Police Service joined Anthony-Burns and other MADD members for the campaign launch. For the next month, an overturned vehicle will sit in the field east of the Hwy 2 northbound lane, just north of the Prince Albert RCMP Depot, as a visual reminder of the dangers of impaired driving.

MADD plans to move the vehicle south near the Tourism Information Centre in one month. They are also waiting on approval from the Ministry of Highways for a third display location along Hwy 55.

With summer approaching, Anthony-Burns said the vehicles provide a lasting impression of what can happen when drivers don’t plan a safe ride home.

From left to right, Beau Lac Funeral Home representatives Merle Kozun and Peter Kilmer, MADD Prince Albert members Karen Anthony-Burns and Darren Deck, and Cst. Darcy Burns and Cst. Chris Stubbs of the Prince Albert Police Service pose for a photo during the launch of the MADD Smashed Car Campaign on Thursday. — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

“It’s just a great visual,” she explained. “It has impact. It makes people stop and think of what can happen. I think when they see that crashed vehicle, it really reinforces the fact that when you drive impaired, this could be the result, so we’re just hoping that people see that, especially on their way to the lakes.

“We know summers here and everybody wants to go out and have a good time, and that’s great, but we also want everybody to think about making that smart plan to get home safely.”

Statistics Canada’s annual National Data Report on impaired driving shows alcohol-related impaired driving is on the decline, but drug-impaired driving is on the rise. Police reported 52,197 instances of impaired driving due to alcohol in 2021. That’s down from 81,966 instances reported in 2009. They also reported 7,454 instances of impaired driving due to drugs in 2021, compared to 1,407 instances in 2009.

Police reported another 11,844 instances of impaired driving in 2021 that were not included in either the alcohol or drug related category. The majority of these cases were not cleared due to insufficient evidence. Others were not included because they were still under investigation.

For Anthony-Burns, the quest to end impaired driving is personal. Her son Daniel was hit by an impaired driver in 2010, and died two days later. Despite her concerns about the 21 cases in Prince Albert so far this year, she’s positive that attitudes in the community are changing.

“Just in my own circle of people that I know, I see that people are making decisions to have a safe ride home,” she said. “People are not drinking a lot when they’re out. When they’re going boating, hey don’t take alcohol on a boat, so we’re starting to see that people are making smart decisions. Unfortunately, the number of 21 in Prince Albert, and that’s just our city, those numbers mean that there’s still work for you.”