MADD says call 911 to report drunk drivers

Katryna Sigurdson it's a common misconception that the emergency number should not be used to report a suspected drunk driver.

If you see a drunk driver, call 911. According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers Kimbrook community leader Katryna Sigurdson, it’s a common misconception that the emergency number should not be used to report the sighting of a suspected drunk driver. But she said should be.

“If you’re driving down the road and see someone that you suspect is impaired, we ask people to pull over, call 911 and give us the best description of the vehicle, license plate,” she said Monday at Cranbrook City Council.

Sigurdson was looking for council support for the Report Impaired Drivers program MADD is currently doing.

She said the program is a low-cost community program and is effective at taking impaired drivers off the road.

“I can tell you that last year in Kimberley, we took nine people off the road by calling 911,” she said.

According to a MADD survey, Canadians are not so comfortable with calling 911 to report a suspected impaired driver, as 50 per cent of people said they thought it was not an appropriate use of the service.

“But after speaking with RCMP across Canada, it’s definitely something that they want to keep on with,” Sigurdson said.

MADD is battling against the notion by putting up signs highlighting the acceptance of the practice. It also has a developed community partnerships with police, call centres, traffic safety organizations, public health, insurance companies, municipalities and the media.

City council avoided any discussion of signs as it was waiting for Coun. Denise Pallesen to discuss the draft sign bylaw, the topic of signs came up anyways during Monday’s meeting.

Coun. Gerry Warner noted that the city was in the midst of the sign bylaw.

“It’s kind of a sensitive issue right now, but personally I really support what you want to do and I’d like to thing that for safety and security reasons we could find a place to put the signs in appropriate spots,” Warner said. “I’ve phoned the police a few times myself when I used to live in Kimberley and commute to Cranbrook everyday. Just dangerous driving.”

Sigurdson clarified that she was not looking for any signs on the sidewalks.

Council decided to refer the delegation and the signage issue to the Cranbrook in Motion committee.