What will it take to stop people from making the choice to drink and drive? Although every province has their own unique perspective on this issue, Ontario drunk drivers really seem to have kicked into overdrive lately.
The Marco Muzzo crash that killed 3 small children and their grandfather in November of 2015 may have been a wake up call for some drivers in the province, but according to the York Regional Police, there had been a slow and steady rise in impaired driving numbers that preceded that horrible crash. Police say the York Region has seen impaired driving numbers rise by 45 per cent between 2013 and 2015.
Because they wanted to make a real difference in the fight against drunk driving, the York Regional Police launched a campaign called #Imthatperson. The social media campaign was introduced at Sacred Heart Catholic High School in November of 2015 with the goal of encouraging everyone to be “that person” who takes away a drunk driver’s keys or call 911 to report Ontario drunk drivers. They don’t just want to stop these drivers, they want to change minds about drunk driving before someone puts the keys in the ignition.
Since the launch the police have made a concentrated effort to eliminate drunk driving, and all of their combined effort has resulted in the campaign being handed the Traffic Initiative of the Year award by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Although it must be nice to receive the recognition, there’s still a lot of work left to do when it comes to Ontario drunk drivers. Numbers are still rising, and with crash after crash and arrest after arrest, it’s a frustrating battle that involves lawmakers, police, and anti-drunk driving groups like MADD. What’s the magic solution to stop people from getting behind the wheel drunk? No one knows, but campaigns like #Imthatperson are a step in the right direction.