Tuesday marked the annual launch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s (MADD) Red Ribbon campaign in Toronto.
But after the event, Everilda Ratnakumar, the head of MADD’s Toronto chapter, and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders had different takes on the state of impaired driving in the GTA.
Here is what they had to say:
• Ratnakumar said the numbers of impaired driving incidents have remained “steady” during the last decade.
“I wouldn’t say it is on the rise, but it is constant throughout the year. Like I said, the numbers speak for (themselves). The numbers aren’t improving, but they aren’t declining either.”
• Saunders insisted the number of impaired driving incidents in the GTA has been declining.
“By getting the message out on a regular basis, people start to understand that it is the wrong thing to do. And I can tell you that, historically, over the years it has gone down, and I believe it has gone down slightly over the recent past. But still, one loss of life is one too many, so we always have to continuously remind people what the disadvantages are when you make that bad decision of drinking and driving.” He stressed the need to change “the culture of thinking” around drinking and driving.
A MADD Canada spokesman said the organization keeps national statistics on impaired driving incidents but doesn’t keep such numbers for individual municipalities.
According to Toronto Police, the yearly number of impaired driving charges laid in the city, from 2002 to 2012, remained steady — an average of 1,296 annually. More recent numbers were not immediately available.
Source (with video): Toronto Sun