'A reality check': Saskatoon smashed vehicle campaign aims to raise awareness about impaired driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hopes an eye-catching smashed vehicle display will make drivers think twice about getting behind the wheel impaired.

The display was unveiled Thursday in the southwest corner of Warman and Wanuskewin Road. The smashed vehicle will be on display at four different locations until Oct. 28.

Every two weeks it will be moved to a high visibility location in the city.

The Saskatoon campaign is being led by Lou and Linda Van de Vorst. The couple lost their son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in an accident caused by a drunk driver in 2016.

“Quite honestly, before that, I barely thought about impaired driving, I didn’t drink and drive ever. At the same time, I didn’t think it was as much of a problem as it is in Saskatchewan,” Lou told CTV News.

The Van de Vorst family said the deaths have led them to working with MADD Saskatoon.

Linda emphasized the words “impaired driving kills” on the side of the car have an impact on people driving by.

“It’s a reality check that there is a big consequence of loss of life with this car showing here, and I’d hope that people would take a second look to really take heed,” Linda said.

Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper said the smashed car display is valuable because it’s quickly recognizable for drivers.

“We issued about 350 impaired charges, criminal charges, in the city of Saskatoon last year, and that’s a big number but unfortunately it’s increased. 2020 had more impaired charges than 2019 and 2021 looks like an increase yet again and that’s disappointing,” Cooper said.

He added that the numbers have gone up due to increased focus on enforcement, but is still concerned and wants people to change their behaviour.

“It’s important because we can change it. Impaired driving is something that’s absolutely preventable.”

MADD chapters in Regina and Prince Albert had similar smashed car campaigns throughout the summer. 

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