By Adam Eisenbarth
Rimbey’s SADD group, RCMP, EMS and Fire and Rescue personnel deliver a life and death message to drivers May 19.
A Checkstop was set up by Pas-Ka-Poo Park from 3:45 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. and Rimbey Junior/Senior Highs school students handed out candy, reminder ribbons, and most importantly, a message to help prevent drinking and driving incidents on the long weekend.
“This was meant to create public awareness. On the May long weekend we lose more Canadians to (motor vehicle collisions) than any other weekend in the year. We’re trying to get people to pay a little more attention to how much they drink and whether or not they drive,” said Const. Charles Lambright who held the checkstop with the students.
Lambright is encouraged by the response young people have had to the various campaigns against drinking and driving over recent years.
“I believe that the educational process that is in place is working. What I know is this. This is from seven years of experience dealing with impaired drivers. I lay probably five or six impaired driving charges against (people aged 30+), to every one of the person’s 30 and under.”
Lambright says that’s because the younger generation has grown up with an education of the dangers of impaired driving.
“We didn’t have MADD, we didn’t have SADD, we didn’t have all these other organizations that were out targeting impaired driving. I think folks that grew up in the day when it was not that big of deal still don’t look at it as that big of deal.”
Teacher Shauna Murdoch helped start the group four years ago after a student was killed in a collision that involved impaired driving. She said students are not only getting the message but passing it on.
“It’s great that they can take initiative and do something that will help keep people safe.”
Murdoch says the Checkstop was generally well received.
“I think for the most part people did respond well to it. There were some people though that were more inconvenienced about the traffic being stopped or decided to avoid the Checkstop altogether. It happens and I understand people are busy.”
With young people showing that they have an understanding for the dangers of impaired driving, Murdoch says the SADD campaign has been a success.
“Because of the SADD group we haven’t had any deaths to drinking and driving in the last three years in our town so that I think is pretty impressive.”
Murdoch is happy to see the way young people are viewing this issue.
“I’m glad that it’s the response that they’re responsible at a younger age because hopefully then the message will keep going when they get older.”
Lambright is hoping some older drivers will take a lesson from younger drivers when it comes to this issue.
“I just think that there are a lot of folks that live under the thought that, ‘It’ll never happen to me.’”