Impaired driving message still not heeded

Poor choices being made over holiday season.

The number of deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired drivers may be down by almost 50 per cent in the past year, but it is still important to remind people not to drive while impaired.

Allan Lamb, president of the BCAA Road Safety Foundation, said a significant number of drivers still get behind the wheel of a vehicle after they’ve become impaired by alcohol or drugs.

“There is an increase in social events at this time of year and a large number of those driving impaired are coming from the company of friends, colleagues and family,” said Lamb. “It is simply not an option to drive impaired or to allow someone you know may be impaired to leave your company and get behind the wheel of a car.”

Referring to a recent court ruling on the immediate roadside prohibition ruling, Lamb reminds drivers police are enforcing impaired driving laws and any driver who blows over .08 will still face the possibility of charges under the Criminal Code.

Here are a few tips from the foundation to keep people safe on the roads this holiday season:

Plan your night out – Leave the car at home and take public transit, taxis or arrange for a designated driver service. You can even call a tow truck to take you and your car home.  If the party is at a friend’s house, plan to spend the night and drive home the next day after the effects of the alcohol have worn off.

Be a designated driver – Take turns being the designated driver. When it’s your turn, stick to beverages without alcohol.

Be a good host – Make sure your friends live to remember the good cheer. Have a variety of alcohol-free beverages like pop, juice, coffee, tea or ‘mocktails’ on hand.  If you are concerned any of your guests are impaired, call a taxi or offer the spare bed or the couch. A disagreement over safety with a friend is better than risking the alternative.

Role modelling – Parents, remember your kids watch and learn from you. It’s important that you demonstrate safe and healthy driving behaviours at all times. Don’t drive impaired

Call home anytime – Young people like Christmas parties, too. Often they don’t want to admit that they or their friends drink or use drugs if it means their parents will be angry. To them it’s worth the risk to drive or ride with a driver who is impaired. A family ‘contract’ agrees the kids can call home at any hour for a safe ride home.

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