YOU can help save the lives of 250 people…every year

Donna Jean Kennie (Mamma K)
April 5, 1949 – August 1, 2009
Killed by an impaired driver.

If you think impaired driving isn’t your problem or doesn’t concern you, think again. If it could happen to me, it could happen to you. Maybe the next death or injuries sustained will be someone you love…or YOU! Read on and take action to make a change!

Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. You’ve heard the numbers. On average, every single day 4 Canadians die on our roads and 174 are injured in impairment-related crashes. That’s almost 1500 deaths and over 63,000 injured every year.

Look around you. Chances are someone you know has been affected by impaired driving. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one or been injured yourself or maybe you know someone who’s lost a loved one or been injured. If you don’t…sadly, if nothing changes, one day you will.

But there is hope.

One Canadian life could be saved each and every single day (that’s 250 lives and over 12,000 injuries saved each year) if the Canadian government implemented Random Breath Testing (Source: MADD Canada). Nearly two years ago, I wrote a blog post about the need to bring random breath testing (RBT) to Canada and I am sad to report that this life saving measure is still. not. in. place.

Why does Canada need RBT?

If you think that Canadian police already have the power to just “demand” you submit to a breathalyzer, you couldn’t be further from the truth! As the law stands now, police can only demand a roadside breath sample if they have reasonable grounds (smell alcohol, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech etc) to suspect the driver has been drinking. This makes investigation and prosecution more complicated than you can imagine. As a result, millions of Canadians continue to drink and drive, in part, because the likelihood of ever being stopped or charged is low.

In fact, MADD Canada data indicates a person would have to drive impaired, on average, once a week, every week, for more than 3 years before being charged with impaired driving offence, and for more than 6 years before being convicted.

How sick is that?!

Random breath testing would authorize the police to demand breath samples from all drivers pulled over at checkpoints, greatly increasing the number of drivers screened and thus increasing the deterrent impact of our impaired driving laws. Source: MADD Canada.

International success speaks for itself!

RBT has an impressive record around the world (source: MADD Canada):

  • In Queensland, Australia, random breath testing was estimated to have reduced total fatal crashes by 35% between 1988 and 1992, preventing an estimated 789 fatal crashes.
  • New South Wales’ random breath testing program was estimated to have prevented 522 serious crashes, 204 fatal crashes and 686 single-vehicle night-time crashes in its first year.
  • In Ireland, the introduction of random breath testing in 2006 reduced total annual road fatalities by 19% from the previous year.

MADD Canada has the research to back RBT up

MADD has researched RBT to prove that the majority of Canadians support it and that IT IS constitutionally sound. As well, they did an analysis of the impact of implementing RBT on the criminal justice system’s resources and were able to prove that RBT will not only save hundreds of lives and prevent tens of thousands of injuries, it will also reduce the social costs of impaired driving by billions of dollars annually. Visit the MADD Canada RBT page (about half way down) to peruse and read all the extensive research that backs RBT up.

Join MADD Canada in the fight to save lives

MADD Canada’s CEO and national staff along with hundreds of volunteers have been working tirelessly advocating for RBT. They’ve marched. They’ve met. They’ve written.

And so far…nothing!

But…MADD Canada, its staff and volunteers are tenacious people. You’ve never seen a group of more committed and determined folks. They are seriously intense and impassioned to see RBT implemented in Canada; no matter how long or what it takes. The government can run and it can try to hide but these peeps won’t stop until their mission is met!

Canadian government, if you are reading…resistance is futile my friend. Make it happen already.

This October, MADD Canada will be hard at it again; meeting with key ministerial officials advocating once again for changes criminal code to implement RBT. And they need OUR help to make this happen. We have to have their backs, people!

What can you do? Plenty!

Write. Email. Tweet. Facebook.

I’ll include some samples you can use below.

Write: your Member of Parliament (you can find a list here) now….and periodically…and let him or her know your wishes to see RBT in Canada. Encourage him or her to raise the issue with colleagues in Parliament and to ask Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to introduce random breath testing legislation. Ask that he/she address this now…not in a year or two when 1500 to 3000 more lives are lost. You can write your own letter or adapt this MP Template Letter (Word document). Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament.

Email: your thoughts or even attach your own letter or adapt this MP Template Letter (Word document) to your MP. Email forward this post to all your Canadian friends and family and ask them to join you in supporting RBT by reaching out to their MP!

Tweet: your MP often that this is something you want to see he/she support. Let your followers know that this is something you are doing and ask them to join you in the call to action!

Facebook: “friend” your MP and post on his/her wall that you’d like he/she to support RBT. Make your wishes known. Let your friends know that this is something you are doing and ask them to join you in the call to action.

Sample email, letter, tweets and Facebook posts you can use

Sample Email (attach your letter):

Hello Honourable NAME,

As a citizen in your riding, I have attached a letter asking you to make your colleagues in Parliament aware of random breath testing, an important anti-impaired driving measure. I would like you to ask the Justice Committee and the Government of Canada to implement random breath testing in Canada.

I ask you – what would do if it was your daughter, mother, mother-in-law that was killed by a drunk driver – a 100% PREVENTABLE death?

Thank you in advance for your support!

YOUR NAME

Sample Letter

First and last name, Member of Parliament
House of Commons
Parliament Building
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1A 0A6

DATE

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to you today to bring the very serious matter of impaired driving to your attention.

Every year, hundreds of Canadians are killed and tens of thousands are injured in impaired driving crashes on our roads and highways. Even with provincial and territorial administrative laws, enforcement programs, and awareness and education campaigns, impaired driving is still causing carnage on our roads. Something more needs to be done.

MADD Canada is calling on the Government of Canada to introduce random breath testing, a roadside screening test to detect impaired driving. This measure has been introduced in many other countries, with significant results. Random breath testing deters people from getting behind the wheel because the chances of them being caught are much higher. It has significantly reduced impairment-related crashes, deaths and injuries in those countries where it has been introduced.

We need this anti-impaired driving measure in Canada. The laws we have now do not adequately deter impaired drivers.  Far too many people continue to put their lives and the lives of others at risk by driving impaired.

Random breath testing will save lives, prevent injuries and make our roads safer.

As a citizen in your riding, I am asking you to make your colleagues in Parliament aware of this important anti-impaired driving measure and to ask the Justice Committee and the Government to implement random breath testing in Canada.

Thank you for your time and for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Name
Address

Sample Tweets

@TwitterHandleofMP as a citizen in your riding, know that I support Random Breath Testing in Canada http://goo.gl/ApTs2

@TwitterHandleofMP We need random breath testing in Canada http://goo.gl/ApTs2

@TwitterHandleofMP Random breath testing will save lives, prevent injuries and make our roads safer. Pls support! http://goo.gl/ApTs2

@TwitterHandleofMP Please make your colleagues in Parliament aware of RBT & ask the Government to implement in Canada  http://goo.gl/ApTs2

I support MADD Canada’s call to action for Random Breath Testing – join me! Write your MP today! http://wp.me/p11YyX-1m6 Help save a life!

Sample posts for your MPs Facebook page

Random breath testing will save lives, prevent injuries and make our roads safer. As a citizen in your riding, I am asking you to support this critical anti-impaired driving measure in Canada.

As a citizen in your riding, I am asking you to make your colleagues in Parliament aware of this important anti-impaired driving measure and to ask the Justice Committee and the Government to implement random breath testing in Canada.

Sample posts for your Facebook wall

I support MADD Canada’s call to action for Random Breath Testing – join me! Write your MP today! Help save a life! http://wp.me/p11YyX-1m6

I wrote my MP today asking for his support of MADD Canada’s random breath testing, an anti-impaired driving measure that would save hundreds of lives, save tens of thousands of injuries and save the government billions of dollars. Join me and let your MP know you want to see RBT in Canada. http://wp.me/p11YyX-1m6

Together…we can make a difference!

For my US friends and family, you can visit the MADD US website to see what public policies they are advocating for and how you can support them in your cause.

Will you write, email, Tweet, and/or Facebook your MP? Will you use your superhero social media powers to make your wishes known and garner support from your fellow Canadians for this crucial anti-impairment measure? What do you think about random breath testing? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

On August 1, 2009, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan 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), YouTube, and on the Web. Text MADD to 45678 to donate $5.

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Comments

  1. Natalie, sometimes the stats just make me shake my head. This works so why the hell are we not doing it? Here’s another question, why do we have to call them Honorable when obviously, most of them are not. If they truly were things would be very different. This uphill battle against legislative stupidity has been going on far too long. Let’s go for zero tolerance. No safe levels, because there really aren’t any.
    (Steps down and quietly slides soap box out of sight.)

  2. Was the crushed car your mom-in-law’s? Just made my stomach sink, how horrible. I just have no other words.

    Natalie, you are fighting the good fight! With this kind of persistence, it will come. But what boneheads – more interested in their politics than with the safety entrusted to them.

  3. I definitely hope Canadian officials are following your blog and reading this. Hello?? Do you not understand that you can prevent some of this? Damn bureaucrats!!

  4. Natalie – This post has so much information the citizens of Canada can use to bring change about. I’ve spent years working on legislative change for various causes and have learned the more ‘I’m in their face (in a polite way) the more often I get results.’ I think it’s terrific that you can send letters postage free – we don’t have that luxury. Do you have a process wherein laws can be changed by ‘administrative process.’ I’ll be posting a blog a week from this coming Monday on what’s called the Federal Register here in the states. Although I often feel it’s used against us more often than not–it’s still a way to get laws changed and keep them from getting bogged down in our House and Senate. Additionally, individuals might tell you they’ll do a letter, etc. but when the time for them to do it comes–it never happens. I’ll often print out the letter so all they have to do is sign their name. I provide the envelope already addressed and stamped and they put their letter in the envelope and seal it. I then take the letter back and post it myself. That way–I know for sure that it was mailed. I know you will bring about change — sometimes it’s really slow but you have the ‘grit’ as my grandmother use to say.

    • Amazing Sheri! I can’t wait to read your Monday’s post and then to investigate if we have anything similar. I don’t think so but I will certainly check.

      Also, I love your point about the letter. Genius!!! I will print off and bring bunches everywhere I go so I can get more signed and sent.

      I definitely want to focus on policy changes so will be tapping into your talents for sure.

      Grit…your grandmother was a smart cookie! Apple does not fall far, I see.

      Thank you soooo much for your suggestions, info, and support!!! :))
      Life Out Loud: be yourself…everyone else is taken
      A blog by Natalie Hartford
      http://nataliehartford.com

  5. Thanks Natalie – another great post, as usual. a fatality from drunk driving is murder….Pure and simple. we need to legislate for that.

  6. It is absolutely impossible to understand why RBT has not been mandated into law! Thanks for providing all of this information which makes it so easy for all everyone to speak up. I’ll be sharing wherever possible and will spend the afternoon getting my e-mails, tweets, and letter off. Keep up your good work, Natalie. You are making yourself heard, there’s no doubt of that!

  7. Brian Wijeratne says:

    Absolutely amazing work.. this just made me stop and stare.
    RBT is exactly what Canada needs, the work you do makes a real difference.
    Thankyou!

    • Thank you so much for your amazing comment and the email you sent Brian. Truly warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I read it to my husband in the kitchen last night when we got home from our local MADD chapter meeting. He was just blown away as well…

      Your support means the world to me and I will do my best to help you in your awareness campaign and efforts!!!

      Together…we CAN make a difference!!!

      HUGS!!!

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  1. […] me in the fight against impaired driving. Write your MP and tell him/her that you want them to support random breath testing! If your spouse, BFF or family member said they were ok to drive after only having a couple but you […]

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