MADD Canada launches Red Ribbon Campaign as holiday season starts
Published Thursday, November 2, 2017 5:15PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, November 2, 2017 6:57PM EDT
There's a new focus tonight to stop drinking and driving ahead of the Christmas season.
The federal government is set to legalize recreational marijuana next year and that has safe driving advocates even more worried about a rise in fatalities.
This issue is on the minds of many now as the Renfrew area mourns the loss of two young men.
OPP have confirmed alcohol played a factor in that horrific crash a few days ago.
As Renfrew gets set to bury yet another young man, the organization MADD Canada is worried that pot will play an increasing role in fatal crashes.
For 3 decades, MADD Canada has been tying red ribbons on antennas and bumpers in the ever-continuing fight against impaired driving.
For nearly decades, Gregg Thomson has grieved his son. 18-year-old Stan Thomson was killed in a horrific crash outside Perth in 1999. He was a passenger in a truck in which four other young people also died.
It’s a case that is eerily similar to the one that claimed the lives of two Renfrew area teens early Friday. Two others were injured.
“When I read a story like this and hear about it, it puts me back with our families,” says Thomson, “There were 5 young men killed. I just feel so deeply for those families and the community because I know the devastation and impact.”
Marijuana played a role in the Perth crash. OPP say alcohol played a role in the Renfrew crash.
“It makes no sense that we have death rate we do,” says Thomson, “it is solvable, it is preventable, which is the frustrating part. S we will press on until we solve this.”
According to MADD Canada, four Canadians each day die as a result of impaired driving and about 200 are injured every day. Impaired driving still remains the number one criminal cause of death in this country.
Today they took their red ribbon campaign to Parliament Hill and to city hall.
“The truth be told, if we had our way, we'd like to end the campaign,” says Patricia Hynes-Coates, with MADD Canada, “and not see any more lives lost due to this senseless crime.”
And with the legalization of recreational marijuana just around the corner, advocates for safe driving fear those numbers will rise.
“There will be more crashes, more people getting behind the wheel without thinking,” says Lise Fournier, with MADD Ottawa, “just making the choice to get behind the wheel without any concern.”
Funeral arrangements have been made for 18-year-old Alex Paquette. Friends and family will be gathering today at Anderson funeral home in Renfrew. His funeral is tomorrow at 11am at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Renfrew.