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

Betties face some bumps from Cumberland Rec Centre deal

Roller derby group gets hit with schedule changes, rental hikes as ‘team’ rather than ‘drop-in’ program

Infrastructure upgrades will mean truck traffic increase around 19 Wing Comox

Over the coming weeks and months, the public may see an increase… Continue reading

Black Creek kids get their new place to play

Community cuts the ribbon on playground from BCAA Play Here contest

Hornby and Denman Community Health Care Society celebrates 40th anniversary

The Hornby and Denman Community Health Care Society is celebrating its 40th… Continue reading

RCMP Emergency Response Team called in to arrest man at Black Creek General Store

42-year-old Campbell River man facing numerous charges

Comox Valley rugby team loses first of season

The Comox Valley Kickers women’s rugby team suffered its first loss of… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

New Comox Valley non-profit helps people on street

A Comox Valley woman has started a non-profit to assist marginalized members… Continue reading

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read