In hopes of curbing impaired driving in the City of Lacombe, a new proactive program has been launched that includes citizen involvement.
The Lacombe Traffic Safety Committee (LTSC), Lacombe Police Service (LPS) and the Lacombe and District Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have partnered together to launch the Report Impaired Drivers (RID) program.
The community-driven initiative was launched on Aug. 13th, which involves citizens reporting possible impaired drivers when they see unsafe driving behaviours on City streets. The awareness strategy uses highway signs, marketing materials and events to promote the definitive message.
Deputy Mayor Peter Bouwsema said City council was happy to partner with MADD in such an important initiative.
“We, as a City council, care very much about the safety of our citizens as well as the police service and that is why we wanted to work together to make this happen,” he said. “Drinking and driving can easily be prevented, but it continues to have a devastating effect on Canadian families. Everyone has a stake in making our roads safer and that is why governments, communities and law enforcement must all work to rid our roads of unsafe drivers.
“As a community we can do something. We can take a little bit of time to report these drivers and ultimately make our community safer.”
The program’s main focus is to encourage citizens to pull over and call 911 when they see a possible impaired driver. These types of calls will assist the LPS in getting unsafe drivers off the street.
LTSC Chairperson Mark Sproule said four large RID signs have been placed along area highways, which are highly visible as drivers enter Lacombe.
“Here in Lacombe we have a wonderful police service, however, they can’t be everywhere, so it’s our duty as citizens of Lacombe to play our part in keeping our community safe and assist the police service where we can,” he said. “If you see an impaired driver, immediately call 911. We want to remind them it’s their community, it’s their call. It’s so important for the appropriate services to be contacted to get that unsafe driver off the roadway.”
LPS Chief Steve Murray said the RID program perfectly aligns with the LPS community partnership mandate.
“This is exactly what we want to see, even in terms of our Lacombe Community Watch Association,” he said. “All of these things are community-driven and that’s really where they belong. I am seeing more and more engagement from the citizens of Lacombe. They care and it shows.”
Murray added the RID program doesn’t just apply to impaired driving. It also applies to anything suspicious going on in the entire community.
“We would extend that to everyone,” he said. “If you see suspicious activity in your neighbourhoods – if you see anything that you think will detract from keeping your streets safe, we need to hear from you so we can attend to deal with it.”
The message is clear from all partnering organizations behind RID — ‘See unsafe driving behaviours? Pull over and report it to the police.’
“We want to send a message to those who drink and drive that they are going to get caught, got to jail and get a criminal record,” said MADD Lacombe and District Chapter representative Debbie Barron.