Several organizations were in attendance at yesterday's presentation introducing the newest Community Leader Group of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) in Estevan.
"This truly is a great day in the City of Estevan as we welcome our new chapter of MADD," shared Mayor, Roy Ludwig, Chair of the Police Board.
"This is very much a priority for our police force for some time. And I think we can say that we are having some success in that area. It's very important that we continue down that road, get these drivers off the road before they maim or kill people in our community."
Michelle Okere, Regional Manager of Saskatchewan MADD shared that she is pleased to see a chapter of MADD come to reality following a meeting with several different groups who got together to share ideas on how impaired driving could be curbed.
"I was here back in February, I was invited to that meeting. Coming to that, it really showed me that this was a community that was poised and ready for change. It was really exciting to get that invitation but to also sit down with people in that room who brought new ideas to the table that accepted the fact that change wasn't going to happen unless everyone took responsibility and took action."
She shared a report from the University of Regina and the Community Knowledge and Safety Association of Canada which talks about the devastation to families as well as first responders who get called to impaired driving accidents and deaths.
"Each year there are 1,200-1,500 people who are killed as a result of impaired-related crashes in Canada. And there are an additional 64,000 injuries as a result of impaired-related driving."
"These deaths are 100% preventable. And if we can change people's mindsets and also encourage people to plan ahead before they're in that position, I think we can make some change."
"MADD Canada works to stop impaired driving and support victims and survivors of this violent crime. We do this through our awareness and education programs. We're trying to change behaviours and make sure that everyone's aware that driving while impaired is both criminal and a potentially deadly act."
She added that volunteers like Connie Hagel who is heading up the Estevan chapter, are the heart and soul of MADD Canada. There are over 100 chapters and community leaders and over 7,500 volunteers across Canada.
"We now have chapters in Regina, Prince Albert, Meadow Lake and Community Leader Groups in Saskatoon as well as Estevan."
"We are dedicated to preventing impaired driving throughout the province," added Eva Bissonnette, Manager of Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs with SGI. "It's one of SGI's major focuses and I'm very excited to have additional people with us to be able to fight that cause."
"SGI is a proud supporter of MADD and the good work the organization does. Impaired driving is still the leading cause of fatalities on Saskatchewan roads."
Last year, 39 people and 357 were injured which is actually an improvement from previous years.
"It's a tough issue and there isn't one easy solution. It really does take a combination of enforcement, legislation, and awareness to bring a culture change on a long-term basis."
She added that Saskatchewan has some of the toughest laws on impaired driving in the country.
There were also members of Estevan EMS, fire department, Estevan Police Service and Estevan RCMP present at the presentation.