Four large RID campaign road signs stand at the entrances to Rimbey

Impaired driving awareness initiative stands guard

Drinking and driving is something all communities look to get rid of.

Drinking and driving is something all communities look to get rid of, and the Rimbey Community Wellness Group took its concerns a step further with the Report Impaired Drivers (RID) campaign, which will be winding down soon in town.

The Rimbey Community Wellness Group is the driving organization behind the initiative but co-ordinator Leanne Evans believes it took the teamwork of many community organizations to get the project running. “It’s been a really great collaboration.”

Town Coun. Brian Godlonton, who also sits on the Community Wellness Group, served as a go between the group and the Town of Rimbey.

Late last fall the Community Wellness Group applied for the Alberta Traffic Safety Fund grant and quickly received just under $5,000.

To kick off the campaign RID posters and other paraphernalia were put up around the community.

“We got things started right around Christmas time,” said Evans.

A permanent fixture in the community will be the four large road signs posted like sentries at the entrances to Rimbey, reminding people to remain vigilant and to pull over to call 911 if they suspect an impaired driver.

“And there have been people that said they didn’t know they could call 911 if they suspect someone is drinking and driving,” said Evans.

Public works threw its support in behind the project by installing the signs and donating the posts.

The Community Wellness Group decided to create the campaign after the RCMP alerted it to the trend of drinking and driving.

“Basically the Community Wellness Group’s focus is violence, bullying, mental health and addictions,” said Evans. “Quite often our initiatives get started because of the police report.”

“Drinking and driving has always been an issue for the RCMP,” she added.

In early December 2014 the Community Wellness Group released a survey to see what people knew on the issue of drinking and driving.

The survey was also a collaboration with the RCMP and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD).

The survey featured 141 respondents and 63 said they had seen the RID logo before while 57 said no and 21 were not sure.

Of the respondents 126 said they would call 911 to report a suspected impaired or unsafe driver, one said no and 14 said they did not know.

However, only 79 revealed they would be very confident in reporting a suspect driver, with 48 saying they would be somewhat confident, the remainder were not confident.

Eighty-nine of the respondents said they had been driving for more than 30 years with the other 52 participants falling between one and 30 years.

Females answered the survey more heavily; 95 to males 48 and 114 of the total participants live in the Rimbey area while 22 others live elsewhere in Alberta and two live in different parts of Canada.

“We have had such a wonderful collaboration on this project, hopefully with raised awareness our roads will be a safer place,” said Evans in an email to the Rimbey Review.