REGINA — In an effort to curb drinking and driving, Saskatchewan Government Insurance has released a new impaired driving commercial that features real victims of impaired driving.
Sounds of sobbing could be heard throughout the provincial legislature on Thursday as the commercial was played for the first time.
Many relatives of those featured in the ad were on hand, saying they hope the message hits home with those who might think about driving after drinking.
Saskatchewan has the highest rates of drunk driving in the country.
Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for SGI, says he hopes people realize the 12 individuals in the campaign are real victims and not actors.
Alysia Kaufmann, whose husband Tanner was killed on a rural road just outside of Regina, says there isn’t a day that goes by where she doesn’t feel the pain caused by someone’s terrible decision.
“I feel when you see this ad ... how could you willingly get behind the wheel and drive impaired if you see the real, true impact of the loss?” she said. “I hope this is going to change the mentality, but only time will tell."
Lou Van Der Vorst lost his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren when they were struck and killed outside of Saskatoon by drunk driver Catherine McKay in January 2016.
"I choke up, I catch my breath, I get a little hurt in my heart," he said of seeing the ad.
"We must keep this in the forefront. Keep people thinking about responsible driving and keep thinking about sober driving."
Over the last decade, 600 people in Saskatchewan have been killed and more than 4,000 injured by impaired drivers.
"It has to stop," said Hargrave. "Too many lives have been lost and too many families have been torn apart."