Comox Valley MADD road sign initiative asks drivers to report impaired motorists

The Comox Valley chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has gained approval from the City of Courtenay and Town of Comox for its road sign initiative urging motorists to report impaired drivers.

There are now seven such signs located around the Valley, with five in Courtenay and two in Comox. The signs are located around the main entries to the municipalities.

Read More: Comox Valley MADD seeks approval for road sign initiative

Leslie Wells, the founder of the Comox Valley chapter of MADD, said the sign initiative intends to raise awareness of impaired driving in the Valley and how citizens can help address the issue.

“The signs are really about letting people know that MADD is present in the Valley. You see [the road signs] quickly and maybe it sinks into your subconscious,” she said.

The mother of a hit-and-run survivor, Wells started the Valley’s MADD chapter in 2013 after her daughter Molly Burton was struck by a vehicle while walking home on Comox Road that September.

An image of what the road signs look like.

Read More: Hit-and-run survivor Molly Burton is getting MADD

Burton was severely injured in the incident and ultimately required 10 surgeries for a shattered right tibia, ankle, humerus and tricep.

“It ruins lives. Not only the lives of the person injured but the driver, the family, and friends,” said Wells, of impaired driving.

“It’s just tragic. And it’s 100 per cent unnecessary.”

Const. Rob Gardner, the RCMP media relations officer, said impaired driving is something the Comox Valley’s police officers deal with on a regular basis. The local detachment typically issues over 100 Immediate Roadside Prohibitions to impaired drivers each year.

Read More: Drunk driving remains a growing concern for Comox Valley RCMP

“Every week we have impaired drivers in the Comox Valley,” he said.

Gardner said the MADD road signs will hopefully help lessen the load of the RCMP in catching drunk or drug-impaired drivers.

“We can’t be everywhere at one time,” he said. “To have people out on the streets noticing people driving in a way they believe is impaired is important to us to be able to decrease the amount of impaired driving in the Valley.”

According to Wells, MADD paid for the signs to be created, while the Town of Comox and City of Courtenay paid for their installation.

MADD Comox Valley has roughly a dozen members. For more information on the advocacy group, visit: bit.ly/2AJJjjO

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