October 19, 2007 Features & Images » Feature Story

Preventing preventable deaths 

Twelve fatalities in nine months on Pemberton roads has first responders speaking out

click to enlarge The Message about driving responsibly seems to have been lost on some people.
  • The Message about driving responsibly seems to have been lost on some people.

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Established in 2004, the Winds of Change, a healthy communities joint-initiative formed in response to the alcohol-related beating death of 15-year-old Ross Leo, will also be active in helping to get the message out. Councillor Jennie Helmer, a member of the Winds of Change steering committee, sees the group as being a bridge between both Pemberton and Mount Currie.

“Winds of Change is working with the joint councils to also help get this message out. We can't make individual choices for our community members but we can do our best to educate, enforce and persist in our belief that an essential part of a healthy community is responsible driving,” says Helmer.

The VOP councillor acknowledges that there will be definite challenges getting the message out.

“It appears that driving at high speeds and driving under the influence is transcending genders and age groups. This makes a targeted message more challenging, because it needs to get through to every single driver. The message is simple ‘Speed and alcohol kills’. We have all heard this at some point in our driving careers and it is time to take some ownership for our actions. Every time we get behind the wheel, we should pledge to acknowledge these words and then drive accordingly.

Councillor Helmer is disheartened by the rash of deaths this year.

“Pemberton is way too small a town to be hit with this number of speed/alcohol related deaths in such a short time,” she says. “Pretty much everyone has been affected to some degree by the recent tragedies and the burning question now is, ‘What are we going to do about it’?”

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