Guest column: Efforts of MADD can not be overstated

Hit & Run victim impressed with organization

Molly Burton

Special to The Record

I recently had the opportunity and the privilege to attend the MADD Canada National Conference in Toronto and, as always, I was blown away by what this organization strives for and accomplishes. The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers community is full of support and understanding and fierce passion for the change that will bring justice and save lives. Drinking and driving is a brutal crime, but it has not made this community brutal in return. I call it a crime, because that is exactly what it is. Every single person that has known grief and loss and despair at the hands of a drunk driver, each and every one of them, could have been prevented. The devastation of drinking and driving is 100 per cent preventable. We are not the victims and survivors of accidents, we are the victims and survivors of criminal choices.

Drinking and driving crashes and murders are not something that happens to us, and to our communities, they are something that is done to us – and the sickest and saddest part of all is lack of justice. Canada is getting better, very slowly, thanks largely to the MADD organization, but we still find ourselves in a position where the sentences being doled out do not even scratch the surface of the atrocities that were committed. Most of the drinking and driving injuries and deaths are committed by repeat offenders; people who have lost licenses, injured others, or killed people. Clearly, the sentencing is doing very little by way of prevention.

There is still hope within the MADD community that the punishment for drinking and driving will become more severe and there will be less tolerance in our justice system, but that is not the only hope. MADD Canada puts an enormous amount of effort into spreading awareness and education about the dangers of drinking and driving. It is working. MADD Canada school programs and community chapters are saving lives and changing our country into a safer place.

As many of you know, my family and I have experienced firsthand the devastation of drinking and driving. The weight of everything we have lost led us to reach out to MADD Canada, and we received nothing but understanding, acceptance and support in return. MADD offers us the important hope of preventing these needless and tragic deaths.

It is this hope, the hope of making the roads safer and saving lives, that inspired us to reach out to the community of the Comox Valley and start a MADD chapter here. I cannot emphasize enough how much MADD helped me survive, not just in coping with my injuries but surviving the legal proceedings, and most of all: surviving my loss and my grief. Our community has been touched too often by loss at the hands of drivers under the influence, and there is not a MADD chapter on Vancouver Island to offer support. I believe having a chapter on the Island is an enormous step towards spreading awareness for a safer community, and a healthy support system for victims and survivors of impaired driving.

Molly Burton was the victim of a hit & run along Comox Road in 2013. The young offender responsible admitted to “shot-gunning” beers prior to getting behind the wheel of a car.

 

Just Posted

A siren bank near Stotan Falls. Photo supplied
BC Hydro to test sirens along Puntledge River in Courtenay this week

Public safety is very important to BC Hydro, and it’s one of… Continue reading

NIC’s new president Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12. Domae has worked at NIC since 2000, most recently as the executive vice president, academic and chief operating officer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
New North Island College president launches draft strategic plan

Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12, 2021

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

Artist's drawing of the proposed 52-unit affordable seniors housing project in Comox. File photo
Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society receives federal grant money

The Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society (CVAHS) has received $25,000 in grant… Continue reading

Mark Henderson’s exhibit, “Bikes and Barbies,” is now showing at Artful : The Gallery on Cumberland Road in Courtenay. Photo supplied.
New exhibit at Courtenay art gallery

Artful : The Gallery is showing art by Mark Henderson until Saturday,… Continue reading

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Most Read