MADD is trying to re-start defunct Wellington County chapter

Almost four Canadians are killed every day, and approximately 187 more are in­jured, due to impaired driv­ing.
And over the past few months, Wellington Coun­ty has seen a high number of impaired driving deaths and injuries, and numerous charges for drinking and driving.
So Mothers Agai­nst Drunk Driving (MADD Canada) is hold­ing a public meeting in an effort to revive the Wellington County chapter of MADD, which was one of the first ones created back in the 1980s. It has been inoperative since 2005.
Wanda Kristensen, the dir­ector of programs for MADD Canada, said of the carnage on the highways through injuries and deaths, “There’s been so many in the last six months. We’ve had so many families con­tacting us.”
Organizers are looking for concerned citizens who are in­terested in helping stop im­paired driving in Wellington County. Everyone is invited to a public meeting to hear in­for­mation about MADD Canada and discover how they can be­come involved.
The meeting will be held on Nov. 22 at 7pm at the Holi­day Inn in Guelph, at 601 Scotts­dale Drive.
Kristensen said there are a number of reasons why the county chapter folded.
“This sometimes happens,’ she said. Sometimes recruit­ment efforts do not keep up with the need for new people, and that leaves those who do remain in the organization worn out and tired.
“There wasn’t anyone new to step up,” she said.
But, she said, MADD is im­portant because it helps “keep up the awareness that drunken driving is a crime.”
Kristensen is hoping for a lot of community interest in re­starting MADD. She said she has sent invitations to police, fire, and ambulance personnel, who know first hand how dev­as­tating drinking and driving can be. She also invites anyone who is a victim of drinking and driving “to come out and find out what services we can offer them.”
She said many people feel powerless after they lose some­one to a drunk driver, or if they have been injured. She said, “When people do get in­volved, they feel that maybe they can save others.”
And, as for the name, moth­ers have been angry about los­ing children, but MADD is for moms, dads, and their children, too. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting and refresh­ments will be served
More than usual?
The Wellington Advertiser has been seeing an increase in the number of reports on drunk­­en driving over the past few weeks, and Kristensen said there could  be numerous reas­ons for that, often to do with those who are charged.
She said that some might simply be alcoholics who are finally caught after years of avoiding accidents and the police. Others, she said, might be binge drinkers who norm­ally might not drink and drive, but then find themselves being caught impaired after a mom­ent’s weakness or an inebriated decision to drive home after a big party.
Kristensen said there are other reasons, too.  “Young peo­ple mix alcohol with drugs, and with inexperience [behind the wheel] … It makes quite a dangerous mix.”
She said there are far too many optimists who think it always happens to somebody else but find themselves caught drinking and driving.
“Also, they have a mindset, ‘I’m a good driver.’ There’s that bravado. People just don’t stop to think, ‘I’m not okay to drive’.”
OPP Sergeant Warren Fink said people have studied incidents of increases in traffic tickets or accidents, or drinking and driv­ing, and they found that often the economy has something to do with the increase in impaired driving charges.
For example, when gas is cheap and the economy booming, there will be more people driving, and getting speeding tickets, and getting into acci­dents.
Whatever their excuse for drinking and then getting be­hind the wheel, people who drink and drive in Wellington County have some tenacious police officers to contend with.
“I know our officers in the county are trying to step up their efforts,” said OPP Con­stable Mark Cloes.
But drinking drivers have more eyes on them than just police officers. Cloes said pol­ice are always pleased to get calls about drinking drivers, and “There’s been a number of people concerned with that. They’ve been quite in­stru­men­tal in following and reporting [drinking drivers],” Cloes said.
And, he noted, the county has “a few more guys out and about than we did a few years ago.”
Still, Cloes, like many other