A RIDE checkpoint on a Friday evening is not uncommon, but the one held by Brockville Police on August 14th was very unique. It was a Memorial RIDE held in honour of Aaron Stevenson, a local teen who was killed in a tragic traffic accident.
In September 2013, Aaron Stevenson was about 16 years old. A talented drummer, strong athlete and avid skateboarder, the young man was about to start Grade 11. But instead of returning to school with his peers, Aaron was being mourned by his heartbroken family and devastated friends. A young life cut tragically short when he was hit by a vehicle on September 1, 2013.
On Friday, Brockville Police paid tribute to the young man, and raised awareness about the dangers and consequences of impaired driving, at the Memorial RIDE. Aaron’s family and volunteers from MADD Canada participated in the checkpoint to talk to motorists and share the sober driving message.
“Staff Sargent Todd Bertrend of the Brockville Police Service tells us RIDE programs are both proactive and reactive. They often result in the arrest of someone who has been drinking and driving, but the main objective is to be seen and for people to be aware that these programs do and will continue to take place.”
“It was a beautiful tribute to our son Aaron, a great way to raise awareness for impaired driving and a great way to keep Aaron’s memory alive. We hope people will stop and think before getting behind the wheel when impaired, whether it is by alcohol or drugs. We live our nightmare every day, losing a child to a senseless irresponsible and completely preventable decision made by someone else. If we influenced even one person’s perspective during the RIDE it is honoring Aaron’s memory.” – Willy, Kelly and Austin Stevenson
Impaired driving is a deadly and persistent problem in Canada. On average, 4 Canadians are killed and 175 are injured in impairment-related crashes every day. These deaths and injuries are entirely preventable.
RIDE, or Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere, is a sobriety checkpoint program used by police throughout Ontario. Originally started in 1977 as Reduce Impaired Driving in Etobicoke, the program was soon expanded across the province as a way of removing impaired drivers from Ontario roads and deterring people from driving while impaired. The roadside spot-checks are held year-round, with increased frequency during the holiday season and over long weekends.
Police remind the public that they can call 911 to report a driver they suspect is impaired. MADD Canada offers information on the signs of an impaired driver and how to safely report one at: http://www.madd.ca/madd2/en/services/awareness_campaigns_campaign_911.html
Pictured above (left to right) Cst. Boyd. Willy and Kelly Stevenson, Cst.Garvin