OAKVILLE, Ontario, Feb. 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- While Valentine’s Day inspires thoughts of flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for many people, it can be a poignant and painful reminder of loss for victims and survivors of impaired driving.

For Carolyn Swinson, Valentine’s Day is an especially painful reminder of two tragic losses.

On February 12, 1993, Ms. Swinson had police come to her home to tell her that her oldest son Rob had been killed a crash. Rob was on his way home from picking up a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend when his vehicle was hit by an impaired driver. Rob suffered massive head, brain and chest injuries, and died at the scene.

“Time passes and you learn to how to live with your loss, but the pain and sadness never goes away," said Ms. Swinson, a long-time volunteer who has served as a local and national president of MADD Canada and works extensively with other victims and survivors. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son and all that we have missed because he is gone.”

Almost to the day, 12 years earlier, Carolyn’s father Harry ‘Scot’ Buxton, who lived in England, was killed by a young man who had left one pub impaired and was driving to another.

“Our purpose here isn’t to make people feel sad, or to suggest they shouldn’t go out and enjoy themselves on Valentine’s Day or any other occasion,” Ms. Swinson said. “We just want everyone to understand how easily, how quickly and how permanently that one single decision to drive impaired can affect your life and the lives of so many other people.”

Crashes involving alcohol, cannabis and/or other drugs claim hundreds of lives and cause tens of thousands of injuries every year. These tragic deaths and injuries are 100% preventable.

If you and your sweetheart are going out to celebrate Valentine’s, and alcohol or cannabis are part of the plan, please be sure to arrange a sober ride home, urge MADD Canada and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.

  • Never drive impaired. Plan ahead for a sober ride home – book an Uber, call a cab, take public transit or arrange a designated driver.
  • Never accept a ride from a driver who may be impaired.
  • Call 911 if you see a driver you suspect is impaired.

“Carolyn’s story, and the stories of so many other victims and survivors of impaired driving are a powerful reminder of what is at stake when you get behind the wheel impaired,” said Allstate Insurance Company of Canada CEO and President Ryan Michel. “Your life, and the lives of those on the road with you, are far too important to risk.”

Plan for safe and sober transportation this Valentine’s Day. Call a cab, arrange a designated driver, take public transit or check out Uber, MADD Canada’s Official Designated Driver App. 

About MADD Canada
MADD Canada is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. To learn more, visit www.madd.ca

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is a leading home and automobile insurer focused on providing our valued customers prevention and protection products and services for every stage of life. Serving Canadians since 1953, Allstate strives to keep our customers and employees in "Good Hands®". We are proud to have been named a Best Employer in Canada for seven consecutive years. Allstate is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it we operates and has partnered with organizations such as MADD Canada, United Way and Junior Achievement. To learn more, visit www.allstate.ca. For safety tips and advice, visit www.goodhandsadvice.ca.

For more information, contact:
Carolyn Swinson, Ontario East Director, MADD Canada National Board, 416-575-5772.
Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager, 1-800-665-6233, ext. 240 or . 
Anna Weigt-Bienzle, Senior Communications Specialist, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 905-475-4527 or .