As Action Sudbury begins giving out red ribbons during the holiday season in memory of people killed by impaired drivers, the group is hoping that this year, the shock of financial consequences will also prevent people from drinking and driving.

When insurance broker Lisla Beaton takes part in Action Sudbury’s launch of the Red Ribbon campaign on Friday, she hopes to reinforce a sobering message of a different kind.

She said an impaired driving conviction can more than double the cost of auto insurance — for good.

"You are never going to recover from it," Beaton said. "That's what people have got to learn. This is not something that's a one-time event and then is over. It follows you for the rest of your life."

She pointed to a recent case she worked on.


Insurance broker Lisla Beaton says driving while impaired can net people some extreme financial consequences. Megan Thomas/CBC (Megan Thomas/CBC)

"I've got an example right here of a 24 year old," Beaton said.

"His premium was $1,702 a year and when I put in the impaired charge and the suspension — that's the only change I made on the quote — it went up to $6,519."

Sudbury's Ron Roy said he hopes highlighting the potential financial hit will get the message across to those who are still not arranging safe rides home.

The retired police officer once responded to fatal collisions caused by drunk drivers. Now he's the chairman of Action Sudbury.

"We're trying to get the message out that, besides all the tragedies that can happen, the things that are going to affect you may be life-long because of a stupid choice that you made," he said.

Red ribbons for this year's campaign will be distributed to businesses throughout the city and can be displayed on cars to show a commitment to getting home safe.