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

Comox Valley Chamber looks back on recent achievements

Chamber of Commerce Week Feb. 18-22

What to do on Family Day in the Comox Valley

Looking for something to do this Family Day? Here are some suggestions:Courtenay… Continue reading

Deported Courtenay man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Highland Secondary student wins Horatio Alger scholarship

Jenna Leggett grew up on Read Island where there was no electricity and no roads to her home

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Most Read