By Chanelle Seguin and Sarah MacDonald
After four decades of raising awareness about impaired driving, speakers at the R.I.D.E. launch at Humber said it’s up to young people to break the cycle of impunity.
“I think we need to focus on the parents and the adults because our young people do what they (their parents) know or what they see,” said Joanne Banfield manager of the Trauma Injury Prevention at Sunnybrook hospital. “ I think that we need to step-up as older adults and be better role models, and it’s up to the young people here to help, again, break that cycle.”
Banfield told the gathering of about 100 students and faculty at the kick-off of the 2012-2013 holiday R.I.D.E. at Humber College that although her department has seen a decrease in alcohol-related trauma, more work needs to be done.
Listen: Joanne Banfield
Nick Parks, president and CEO of CAA South said the launch at Humber is now a tradition.
“In the 1970s we helped launch the first ever R.I.D.E. campaign in Etobicoke, and the ‘E’ at the end of R.I.D.E. was originally Etobicoke,” Parks said. “It was so successful that it morphed into reducing impaired driving everywhere.”
Humber College has been the location of the R.I.D.E. launch since 2007.
CAA South Central Ontario is the sponsor for this year’s R.I.D.E. booklet, a collection of tips and coupons handed out to drivers who pass the roadside tests conducted by police. Those who don’t get the booklet wind up in jail, fined or suspended. According to the 2011 Statistical Report by Toronto Police Service, almost 32,000 more cars were stopped that year, increasing from nearly 400,000 in 2010.
Humber has been the perfect setting because of its first response programs said Const. Clint Stibbe, media relation’s officer for the Toronto Police Service traffic division. These first response programs include police foundations, fire fighting, and paramedics.
“A lot of what we do is all messaging based,” Stibbe told Humber News. “Unfortunately, R.I.D.E. patrols right now are part of our social structure. We need them because people are making bad decisions. They’re going out, they’re drinking, then getting into those vehicles.”
Listen: Const. Clint Stibbe
The main reason for this, is the belief that it will be someone else who gets caught.
“We know from talking to people, people who have been charged with impaired driving, that one of the reasons, probably one of the main reasons why they do it is because they don’t think they’ll get caught,” said Carolyn Swinson, a representative for M.A.D.D. Canada. “The more things that we can have out there, like the R.I.D.E. program, (will let) people know that if they are trying to take that chance, they will get caught.”