A nightmare you can never wake up from

As part of Ontario’s 2011/2012 Holiday R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) checks program launch, Constable Alison Gaudino of the Toronto police shared her first-hand experience with impaired driving. Her story reduced me to tears.

In 2008, she and her 50-year-old spouse Randy Tallon, a 23-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, were travelling through Georgia on Interstate 75 en route to Florida. They were struck from behind by a truck driven by an impaired driver. Their vehicle rolled 10 times. Her spouse was thrown from the vehicle. Constable Gaudino had to free herself by kicking out the window only to find the lifeless body of her husband, still in his seat belt.

I can only begin to image the scene she came up on. And I can only imagine how those images of her husband are burned into her mind. Can you picture yourself having those as the last visuals of your most precious loved one?

It makes me think about my step-son. It’s been over 2 years since he was in the car with his grandmother when they were hit by a drunk driver and he had to watch her die. He still has nightmares.

Tragic. Heartbreaking. Unnecessary. Preventable.

In her story, Constable Gaudino’s message was clear:

“Drinking and driving is not a mistake, it’s a choice.”

Hoorah!!!

Go read her story here!

Or watch the newscast she was featured in. I cried.

In 2009, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver. In honor of Donna Jean Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@maddcanada), and on the Web.

What do you think will stop people from driving impaired? What do we need to do? Tougher laws? More public awareness? Random breath testing? What do you think?

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Comments

  1. No alcohol, no tobacco, no recreational drugs ever for any reason. This is a choice, anything else is a mistake. Punishment and the threat of it has failed. Education and treatment are a better option and it is now time to use them.

  2. I think that there have to be other options for transportation. Maybe I’m being niave, but I think people have the best intentions. They don’t plan on drinking so much and they make the bad decision to drive when they are drunk. Maybe better public transit in big cities and taxi’s that give good rates from bars to residential areas to encourage designated drivers. I know that bars used to give the DD free non-alcoholic drinks, but that has stopped in my city. And party hosts should make a plan for their holiday parties. Maybe rent a town car or taxi for the evening to drive people home if they drink to much? Or have a designated DD for the occasion. I think planning ahead is the key.

    • You definitely nailed it Emma – having a plan and being a responsible host/bar owner is key! In my city, public transit stops running at midnight so people have even less options when the bars close so that’s definitely an area where we could improve. I agree, making it easier to NOT drive drunk could help!

  3. Here’s some help in Canada from MolsonCoors in their work against drinking and driving and I bet there is something like it in the States too.
    Call a taxicab in hundreds of Canadian cities and towns with a single tap! 1-888-TAXIGUY Dialer determines your location based on the cell phone tower you are using and automatically calls one of 425 participating taxicab companies. Totally Free and Easy Install.
    http://www.taxiguydialer.com Do it!!!!

  4. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Natalie, I feel your pain. It’s really hard on those that survive the accident. My mother is one of them. My sister made it to the hospital only barely in time and I… I was over four hours away. Yeah, I feel the pain.

  5. I didn’t realize your stepson watched his grandmother die. Heartbreaking, as is this story. Thank you for working so hard on drunk driving awareness. As you said, preventable and inexcusable.

    • Yes. He was 16 and the passenger. He was knocked unconscious by the air bags momentarily but came to in time to watch his grandmother turn to him, see that he was alive, and take her last breath. Devastating. In his victim impact statement, he talks about seeing her in that condition. The truck that hit them quite literally tore off the driver side of the car with such force that when the truck, that flipped 180 degrees, landed and skidded to a stop, the driver side door of Mamma K’s car was embedded into his grill. You can only imagine the images The Dude is left with of his grandmother. No one should ever have to face that! Ever!
      And then today I see in the news that a Supreme court judge ruled that some of BC’s more stringent impaired driving laws were ruled unconstitutional and therefore banned making it only that much easier for impaired drivers to murder innocent people. I am so saddened!!! It’s a shameful day in our country!

  6. asraidevin says:

    I was pretty ticked earlier this week to hear bars and other hospitality venues complaining about harsher penalties for drunk drivers in Alberta because similar laws have caused a drop in revenue from customers. Oh darn, less drunk people on the road, so sad.

    • Oh I know! I feel exactly the same way. I was disgusted when I read some interviews with restaurant owners complaining about how less people are coming for happy hour. Oh yes, lives saved but sorry your bottom line has taken a hit??!!?! It’s terrible…like give me a break already! So sad indeed!

  7. Oh Natalie, hello, nightmare! And tell me it isn’t so. Not the “dude”. I’m so sorry.

    And no I can’t imagine living through something like that even though we ourselves have had to deal with a lot of death, but nothing like that. And to think that it could’ve been prevented. SICK!!!

    It’s insane to think that there is just no justice in the world today.

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