by Travis Fauteux
The Lance – News Editor
As the holiday season begins, drivers are being warned about the dangers of impaired driving.
A RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) program stop, set up on Tecumseh Rd. E, served as a kickoff event for Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s (MADD) 27th annual Project Red Ribbon campaign Nov. 6. Windsor Police officers handed drivers free ice scrapers and red MADD ribbons to help promote the message that drunk driving can kill people.
Millions of red ribbons are distributed in Canada during the annual campaign, which runs from the beginning of November to the beginning of January.
“With every red ribbon that’s worn, we are reminding people that the deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving are 100 per cent preventable, and that each and every person has the power to prevent impaired driving,” said MADD Canada national president, Angeliki Souranis.
Chaouki Hamka, Windsor-Essex MADD community leader, said that the yearly campaign is important for reducing impaired driving during the holiday season when partying increases and road conditions worsen.
“There’s a lot more festivities, a lot more parties going on [and] there’s a lot more drinking when it comes to the holiday season,” said Hamka. “So we try to target that specific time because of that.”
Between 1,250 and 1,500 Canadians are killed and more than 63,000 are injured each year in impairment-related crashes, according to MADD.
“The red ribbons are distributed all over, at police stations, at All State Insurance locations and various local businesses, including the LCBO,” said Hamka. “We hand them out throughout the entire holiday season, even throughout the entire year, so we try to get the ribbons flowing as much as we can.
“We encourage the public to tie a ribbon on their vehicle antenna, on their purses and their backpacks as a way to show their commitment to driving safe and sober.”
According to Hamka, on average, four people are killed every day and 175 people are injured every day because of impaired driving crashes.