Mother of drunk driving victim speaks at MADD red ribbon launch

Florence Holzel, flanked to her left by Lloyd Ferguson and Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire; November 17, 2015

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Early on a Friday morning, twelve years ago, a 40 year old Dundas man died in a crash on Mud St near Sixth Rd East in Stoney Creek.

Today David Norris was remembered by his mother, Florence Holzel, as she kicked off the annual holiday RIDE campaign in Hamilton.

The OPP reported a 37 per cent jump in impaired driving statistics over the holiday season last year. After years of decline, the rate of impaired driving seems to have reached a steady plateau of roughly 13,000 convictions per year in Ontario.

Hamilton accounts for about 500 drunk driving arrests every year. But what the numbers don’t bring home is the human cost of a completely avoidable tragedy. Florence Holzel knows that cost all too well.

“This is something a mother lives with every day of her life. And people talk about their children and they’ll say, ‘Oh what happened to David? What is he doing?’ Well, David’s no longer here. And then I have to tell the story of what happened to him.”

“There’s isn’t a day goes by that I don’t shed those tears.”

One program that has shown success in helping to get drunk drivers off the road is Operation Lookout. The program encourages citizens to call 911 if they see or suspect a drunk driver behind the wheel.

So far this year, that program accounts directly for more than 33 per cent of the impaired driving charges laid by the Hamilton Police.