MLA, MADD to discuss year-round designated driver service

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Perry drove more than 80 partyers during Christmas season

Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry is meeting with the West Prince MADD Chapter to discuss possibly establishing an organization to provide a designated driver service in rural P.E.I., from one end of the province to the other, year-round.

TIGNISH — A West Prince MLA who spent the Christmas and New Year’s festive season volunteering as a designated driver says society can accept nothing more than zero tolerance for impaired driving.

“It can happen at any time of the year, 24/7,” Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry said of drinking and driving.

Perry is meeting with the West Prince MADD Chapter to discuss possibly establishing an organization to provide a designated driver service in rural P.E.I., from one end of the province to the other, year-round.

Perry said the service he provided from Dec. 21 until the evening of Jan. 1 was really one of education and awareness. He said it shone a spotlight on the issue of drinking and driving and demonstrated options available.

“With education and awareness there should be no need for people drinking and driving,” said Perry.

But, he added, the statistics and the demographics are alarming. The majority of the offenders, noted Perry, are either under 25 or over 55, and many are repeat offenders.

“That should not be tolerated,” he said. “We as a society have an opportunity now to say, ‘no, we will not tolerate this anymore. Zero tolerance.”

The MLA said he provided transportation to more than 80 people during the festive season, up from 51 during the nights he provided the service the previous year.

“I have teenaged boys at home and I want to teach them there comes a responsibility with driving, there comes a responsibility with drinking." Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry

New Year’s Eve was his busiest night both years and was even busier this year.

His passengers were appreciative of the service and supportive of the cause, Perry revealed.

Although he didn’t seek it, Perry said he had help this year, including a rental company that provided him with free use of a 2013 van for five nights, and people who helped cover his gas expense.

“I had one lady who insisted,” he revealed “She said ‘I lost my mother to a drunk driver and this would be my part in helping provide some service or help in saving another life’.”

Besides helping to ensure revelers had a sober ride home Perry wanted to provide an example.

“I have teenaged boys at home and I want to teach them there comes a responsibility with driving, there comes a responsibility with drinking,” he said.

“And not only don’t get behind the wheel if you’re drinking, but don’t get into a vehicle with a person who's behind the wheel who is drinking.”

Organizations: MADD

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  • East Girl
    January 08, 2013 - 11:27

    I am a person who lost her sister to a impaired driver.It doesnt have to be after a dance or party this person was driving on a back road in the middle of the afternoon didnt think he would get caught instead he took a life. We as islanders have to have a zero tolerance for impaired drivers and government has to get on board. We do have Madd groups but they cant do it all. Ido realize it is not up to government to fix all problem people have to be responsable for their own actions. So think twice before you get behind a wheel while drinking or drunk because one time or another you will get caught. People who drink and drive should really think of the family members that have to go through the loss of a loved one . Hopefully in the future things for our llittle island will turn around I do believe there is more publicity about the issue now and it has to stop.

  • SG
    January 08, 2013 - 00:18

    @ Sick of This Nanny State: MLA Hal Perry's volunterring as a designated driver had nothing to do with Government. Government also had nothing to do with Funding. People who wished to do so could make a donation to the MADD. MLA Hal Perry did this on his own. An Islander provided him the use of his Van and other Islanders offered to be designated drivers at no cost. So not to worry your tax dollars nor Islanders' tax dollars were involved in Providing this Great Service. Congratulations, Commendations, to MLA Hal Perry! A Fantastic Idea, A Life Saving Service and a Great Job done by all !

  • NDP Bob
    January 07, 2013 - 20:58

    Regardless of party, seeing an MLA go out and take direct action is always great! Kudos to Hal Perry.

  • beentheredonethat
    January 07, 2013 - 18:50

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?? Regardless of circumstances..distance, cost, etc.

    • Sick of this nanny state mentality
      January 07, 2013 - 20:19

      This is one of the dumber ideas I've seen in a long time. It is not the government's responsibility to provide you with a drive home after you've been out drinking. The government is funded by taxpayer money which includes my tax dollars. Why should I as a responsible drinker have to pay for some irresponsible idiot? Come on people take some personal responsibilty for your actions! If you are going drinking there are lots of responsible personal choices you can make to ensure you get home safely. You can choose not to drink excessively, you can take turns with a friend or partner to be each other's sober designated driver, you can make plans to stay in the area that you will be drinking so that you don't have to get behind the wheel, or you can phone a friend or a cab to come get you. Most good friends would be happy to get you if it kept an impaired driver off the road. That's assuming you're not calling them every weekend of course. Even if you live in the country and try to say that a cab is too expensive, compare that cost with the cost of a fine for impaired coupled with the expensive and difficult to obtain insurance, not to mention the inconvenience of jail, lost time from work and the personal embarrassment of being arrested and that $40 or $50 cab ride will look pretty cheap. If you don't find any of these options palatable maybe you should stay home and drink or maybe just go without the booze. Trust me your world won't end because you didn't get your drink on a Friday or Saturday night. If you think it will then you have a bigger problem. Its called alcoholism!

  • CONCERNED ABOUT IMPAIRED DRIVERS
    January 07, 2013 - 17:35

    Great work MLA Hal Perry, you are to be commended for tackling this very serious concern to all Islanders, Impaired Drivers and Repeat Offenders is unacceptable and should promoted as zero tolerance, period. I do like th idea of Government paying taxi fares as thuis would be a win - win, help out taxi services and certanily help keeping our roads safe.

  • not everywhere
    January 07, 2013 - 17:13

    A lot of small towns don't have cab service. Kensington for example has no cabs and there's been many people caught for impaired there recently.

  • Islandwoman
    January 07, 2013 - 16:53

    I think this is a fantastic idea and I hope they get it set up across the island. And btw there aren't a lot of cabs in RURAL PEI.

  • Up West
    January 07, 2013 - 16:47

    Would it occur to people in Summerside and Charlottetown that there may *not* be taxi service up west? We can't just "call a cab". There are none. No buses, no cabs.

    • Justine Thyme
      January 08, 2013 - 06:08

      That doesn't make it right that people drink and drive. Saying there are no cabs and that is the reason someone was drinking and driving is wrong. Someone posted that people don't want to pay $100 for a cab home, then rent a hotel room. If you are going somewhere and are driving, don't drink. You drink, stay where you are. When using the same decision to drink, use the same reasoning to decide where you are going after drinking, so you are not driving. It isn't that hard to arrange, if you think it is, you have a problem.

  • RG
    January 07, 2013 - 16:40

    Excellent idea. Hopefully this idea takes off and then maybe people won't have to wait an hour just to be able to call through to a cab company and then wait another hour for them to show up after the bars. I guarantee you a lot of these impaired drivers probably wanted to cab home, but just weren't willing to wait 2 hours for the ride.

  • dale wander
    January 07, 2013 - 15:39

    its called....CALL A CAB !!!!!!

    • NO CAB
      January 07, 2013 - 16:37

      Their are no cabs down there! that i know of and even if there is/was lots of people would live a long ways away from where the cab is at. I don't think anyone wants to pay $100 and some bucks for a cab just to get home!!!

  • intobed
    January 07, 2013 - 15:37

    While I support any move that would reduce and hopefully eliminate drunk drivers, wouldn't this measure cut into taxi service? Shouldn't someone who can afford to go out and drink afford a cab home?

    • no
      January 07, 2013 - 16:39

      Not if they live miles and miles away. That would cost a lot.

  • Adam
    January 07, 2013 - 15:37

    Just a suggestion, why not see if the government would pay for a taxi if you are impaired? Saves someone using their own vehicle to transport drunks, and it would be another source of income for the taxi drivers, who hardly make enough money to get by now. Win-win situation.

  • Hugh
    January 07, 2013 - 15:37

    What a great idea for a new government program.

  • ED GALLANT
    January 07, 2013 - 15:32

    Well done Hal. We need more people to step up and stop this madness on our roads. By volunteering your time, let's hope that others follow your example and not let someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel of a car or on a snowmobile etc. The longest journeys begin wiith taking the first step.