Traffic was at a standstill on one of the city’s busiest roads when the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers invited motorists to dig deep into their pockets to contribute to the group’s local efforts.
The six-hour voluntary toll on Taylor Drive on Saturday brought in more than $12,200 for the M.A.D.D. Red Deer and District chapter.
The fundraiser fell on the eve of Mother’s Day, which was a coincidence, says Laurie Harnum, vice-president of the local chapter.
“Mothers and fathers get hit hard when they lose a child or a family member,” said Harnum.
“I know a lot of moms who have lost their kids and it seems to hit them a lot harder especially this weekend.”
Alberta’s newest drunk driving law, passed in December 2011, imposes stricter penalties for those caught behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level between 0.05 to 0.08 and increased penalties for those who test higher than .08.
The new law is expected to be implemented in the coming months.
“We definitely support this change,” said Harnum.
“I know a lot of people who are at .05 and you know if we can stop them from maybe going to a friend’s house and having one or two more and then getting in the car and going out and hurting somebody.”
Harnum said there is always another option to getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks.
She said motorists should ask themselves –––“Is it worth it? You have one too many. And you kill somebody. Where is your life going? Is it worth it?”
Among its local services, M.A.D.D. volunteers give presentations to schools and businesses to create awareness about impaired driving and what can happen if someone has one too many drinks and drives.
“It seems more so that it’s young people than older people,” said Harnum. “It’s time to smarten up.”
Harnum has lost several friends because of impaired drivers including a best friend who died when she was younger.
“He was supposed to get in my car but he chose to get in with another friend who had been drinking,” said Harnum. “They crashed and he got killed. It’s dear to my heart.”
To find out more about M.A.D.D. visit www.madd.ca/reddeer.