Monday, October 03, 2011

Arrive Alive Conference - Barrie Ontario

Normie and I just got back from the Arrive Alive Drive Sober Conference in Barrie, Ontario. We are both directors of Action Sudbury, a local group dedicated to the elimination of tragedies caused by drinking and driving. This year's theme was Impaired Driving - What's Next.

We left yesterday after the Freedom Riders monthly meeting. Norm rented a black GM Tahoe that looked every bit like a police vehicle. That was probably appropriate because probably 60% of the conference attendees were on the job. Unfortunately, he couldn't find any magnet mount roof antennas to complete the image. It was a very comfortable vehicle, considering that it was basically a truck.

We arrived in Barrie (180 miles south of Sudbury) and checked into the host Holiday Inn just as the official Arrive Alive Annual Meeting was ending. Action Sudbury Chairman Ron and Treasurer Gary were already there. We all went out to Wild Wing for, you guessed it, wings for supper. I had my favourite, a dry Cajun rub. Then we returned to the hotel and sought out the hospitality room where we mingled with attendees, mostly cops and government employees, from across the province. Then it was off to bed.

The hotel workout room opened at 5:30 AM. I was there soon after and found no one else was similarly motivated. The security guard turned the lights on for me and I figured out the nuances of the equipment before putting in 45 minutes of cardio. Then it was back to the room for showering a dressing before heading to the hot breakfast buffet.

We were in the meeting room on time. the first presentation was from ladies representing the Ministry of Transportation and Attorney General, who updated us regarding recent and proposed changes in legislation. Then we were briefed on the status of remediation programs and new hardware available. After a buffet lunch (I skipped dessert), we were given an excellent presentation by an OPP Traffic Staff Sergeant regarding distracted driving and another of the use of social media to carry the message to youth using methods they can relate to. I particularly liked the Happy Hour Fail piece.

At the afternoon break, Ron and Gary headed for home. Norm and I stayed to take in the presentations on Off Road Vehicles and Motorized Snow Vehicles since we had what might be called a professional interest.

We were on the road just after 4:30 and arrived home about 8:00 after a quick bite at Lick's south of Parry Sound. It's been a long time since I had a Homeburger, but I had back bacon on a bun instead.

I decided to attend the conference this year to see what other areas are doing in terms of anti drinking and driving initiatives. We will be sitting down in December to do some strategic planning and I can use all the ideas I can find to add to the mix. There wasn't any magic bullet that I could see but I did learn a few new things that could prove useful. And I expect I'll head back down again next year.

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