Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) approached the District of Sparwood at the June 1 council meeting in regards to putting up signage that would encourage reporting impaired drivers.
MADD Community Leader Katryna Sigurdson acted as delegate for the organization and addressed myths concerning reporting impaired drivers.
“We would like to discuss with communities to see if this is something they would like to introduce. What our 911 signs do is they allow people to know that it’s okay to call 911 if they suspect an impaired driver. Prior to setting up these signs, people would not call the police because they believed it to be a waste of resources, however, the RCMP has come forward and stated that they would like for people to make those calls,” said Sigurdson of the signage.
Sigurdson provided examples of the program’s success in nearby communities like Kimberley and Cranbrook.
“In Kimberley and Cranbrook, within the first three weeks, calls to 911 had increased by 33 per cent and that meant a whole lot more impaired drivers coming off the road,” said Sigurdson of the program.
Teen impaired driving incidents have also plummeted due to the success of the sign program.
Currently, Kimberley has six signs and Cranbrook has 12.
The signs themselves can be customized in both number across the district as well as size.
Beneficially, the installation of the signs would come at no cost to the district, as MADD would be in charge of paying for the entirety of the bill.
Sigurdson noted that through the sign program, impaired driving charges have gone up.
“This isn’t because the actual circumstances of impaired driving have increased, it’s simply because we are making people more aware to report such incidents,” she said.
Upon approval of the request, MADD would work with local police and the city planning department to identify key sign locations.
Council unanimously moved to have staff take a look at the proposal to pose future recommendations.