MADD Canada

MADD Canada

April 17, 2013 09:30 ET

Ontario Victim of Impaired Driving to Visit MPs in Ottawa to Share His Perspective

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 17, 2013) - For Gregg Thomson of Ottawa, every new impaired driving crash death or injury brings both heartache and frustration. Heartache because he knows the grief and pain that each victim's family and friends endure. Frustration because he knows that every impaired driving crash is preventable.

"It comes down to a decision," Gregg said. "Someone decides to get behind the wheel after drinking or doing drugs. They know better, but they do it anyway."

Gregg's life changed forever in June of 1999 when his son Stan was killed in a crash near Perth, Ontario. Stan was riding in a vehicle driven by an impaired teen. He, along with four others, died in the crash.

Since then, Gregg has been speaking out and working to stop impaired driving.

"It's a message we have to keep repeating," he said. "Everyone has seen the commercials, heard the stories, knows the laws. Yet they do it anyway. That's why we are out here, trying to get through to people in every way we can. We want to make sure that, in that single moment, when someone has the choice of picking up the keys, or picking up the phone to call a cab, that they make the right decision."

Gregg will be joining a small group of representatives from MADD Canada on April 25 - during National Victims of Crime Awareness Week - to 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," said MADD Canada National President Denise Dubyk. "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

  • MADD Ottawa Chapter
    Gregg Thomson
    613-290-1113

    MADD Canada
    Denise Dubyk
    National President
    403-970-8733
    www.madd.ca