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Cumberland-Tantramar MADD chapter holds candlelight vigil in memory of victims of impaired drivers

Terry Robert Ripley was remembered by the lighting of a candle by his sister Heather during a candlelight vigil at the Faith United Pentecostal Church in Amherst. Terry Robert Ripley was born April 18, 1954 and died Nov. 11, 1970. Const. Tom Wood, crime prevention officer for the Amherst Police Department, escorted Heather to and from her seat. DAVE MATHIESON – SALTWIRE
Terry Robert Ripley was remembered by the lighting of a candle by his sister Heather during a candlelight vigil at the Faith United Pentecostal Church in Amherst. Terry Robert Ripley was born April 18, 1954 and died Nov. 11, 1970. Const. Tom Wood, crime prevention officer for the Amherst Police Department, escorted Heather to and from her seat. DAVE MATHIESON – SALTWIRE

AMHERST, N.S. – Candace Lightner founded MADD 37 years ago, but people continue to be killed by impaired drivers every day.

“As we gather to honour the lives of those who are no longer with us we wish this could be the last time, but tragedies still continue,” said Susan MacAskill, MADD Canada Atlantic Region chapter services manager. “In fact, research has shown that since 1999 there has not been a significant decline in impaired driving deaths and injuries on our provincial highways.”

MacAskill was speaking to family and friends of people forever taken or injured by impaired drivers during a candlelight vigil held recently at the Faith United Pentecostal Church Church in Amherst.

“We’re gathered here this afternoon to participate in this commemorative ceremony for victims of impaired driving,” said MacAskill. “This afternoon’s ceremony will be one of reflection, one of inspiration, one of sadness, but also one of hope as we continue on in the fight to eliminate impaired driving deaths and injuries.”

The Cumberland/Tantramar chapter of MADD organized the event.

Family, friends, law enforcement, and first responders gathered to light candles in memory of loved ones killed or injured by impaired drivers.

On average, four people in Canada are killed every day by impaired driving and 175 are injured, making it the number one criminal cause of death in Canada.

The impending legalization of marijuana in Canada could see those numbers rise considerably.

“MADD Canada Cumberland/Tantramar members are very concerned as we get closer to the legalization of cannabis in 2018,” said MacAskill.

She stressed the need for the federal government to implement drug impaired driving legislation before cannabis legalization occurs, and added, “We also encourage the government of Nova Scotia to show leadership and introduce strong, effective legislation that will provide police with the tools they need at roadside to detect drug impaired drivers.”

Family and friends at the ceremony were reminded they can’t change the past but they can have a positive impact on the present and the future.

“May the candles that we’ve been lighting this afternoon be a symbol of the hope we have for a better future, and a hope that the day will come when impaired driving will be forever eliminated and there will be safe passage on our highways for evermore,” said MacAskill.

dave.mathieson@amherstnews.ca

twitter: @ADNdave

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