MADD Canada

MADD Canada

April 17, 2013 11:30 ET

Alberta Victim of Impaired Driving to Visit MPs in Ottawa to Share Her Perspective

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 17, 2013) - No one ever thinks they or their family will be touched by impaired driving. It is something that happens to other people. Until, that is, a knock comes on the door and a family's life changes forever.

For MADD Canada's National President Denise Dubyk, it happened on May 7, 2000.

"That day, our family joined thousands of other Canadians as victims of impaired driving," Denise said. "The police knocked on the door and delivered the news that my son-in-law, Darryl, had been killed."

Darryl was a passenger in a pickup truck that was being driven by an impaired driver. The pickup crashed into the back of a parked, commercial moving van. Darryl was killed instantly. He was just 32 years old.

"I will never forget that morning. Never forget seeing my daughter's pain, or the look in the eyes of my grandsons, who were just 2 and 6 years old at the time," Denise said. "As a mother and a grandmother, there was nothing I could do to protect them."

Denise and her family were overwhelmed with grief and had so many questions. She eventually made her way to MADD Canada where she found the people and resources to help her and her family. In time, she decided that she wanted to be part of the effort to prevent this tragic crime from touching the lives of others. She and others decided to start a Chapter in Calgary in 2001. She served numerous roles with the Chapter before joining MADD Canada's National Board as the Director for the Prairie Provinces, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Region. In 2010, she became National President.

"We have certainly seen some improvements over the years, in terms of stronger legislation, new laws and increased education and awareness," Denise said. "But when we still have hundreds of people dying and thousands being injured in impaired driving crashes every year, that tells us there is much left to do."

Denise will take that message to Ottawa on April 25 when she joins a small group of MADD Canada representatives from around the country in Ottawa. During National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, they will meet with select Members of Parliament to share their perspectives and to talk about what is needed to reduce the tragic impact of impaired driving in Canada.

MADD Canada representatives will speak with MPs about a 2009 report released by the Federal Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights called "Ending Alcohol-Impaired Driving: A Common Approach". The report contained a number of recommendations to reduce impaired driving in Canada, including: tougher sanctions for repeat impaired drivers, tougher sanctions for those with BACs in excess of .16% BAC, and random roadside breath testing.

MADD Canada and its representatives are hoping that the visit will lead to renewed interest in the Committee's report and action on its recommendations, with the end goal being a reduction in impaired driving rates in Canada.

The report was accepted by the government in principle, with Federal Justice Minister and Attorney General Rob Nicholson noting that the report "will greatly assist the Government in its ongoing efforts to make the impaired driving provisions of the Criminal Code more effective and to contribute to reducing the carnage on our roads caused by alcohol-impaired drivers."

Despite the acceptance of the report in principle, and the undisputed need for more to be done to stop impaired driving, there has been no move on the part of government to implement any of the recommendations in the report.

In the year that report was released, 1,074 people were killed in impaired driving crashes and 63,338 were injured. With those numbers as a basis, MADD Canada estimates more than 4,100 people have been killed and more than 240,000 injured in impairment-related crashes since the report was released and April of 2013.

MADD Canada's analysis of random breath testing, based on the experiences with that measure in other countries, indicates that random breath testing would prevent more than 200 impairment-related crash deaths and more than 14,000 impairment-related crash injuries each year.

"We are not saying that new measures will prevent all impaired driving crashes, but they will prevent some of those deaths and injuries," Denise said. "There is more we can be doing to stop the carnage and loss caused by impaired driving. Random breath testing and the other recommendations in the report will have a significant impact on the reduction of impaired driving in Canada. We need to move forward on this."

About MADD Canada

MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. For more information, visit www.madd.ca.

Contact Information

  • To learn more and to speak with MADD Canada's
    representatives in advance of their visit to Ottawa,
    contact: MADD Canada
    Denise Dubyk, National President
    403-970-8733
    www.madd.ca