Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for many Northumberland residents.

Let’s all vow today, right now, not to let impaired driving get in the way of family gatherings, work celebrations or social outings. Let’s make sure that Ontario Provincial Police and Cobourg and Port Hope cops measure a reduction in the number of people charged with drinking and driving offences during the annual RIDE campaign. Let’s make sure that we all make it through this busy and stressful, but ultimately rewarding, time of year.

As the OPP reminds, there is no safe amount of alcohol consumption when getting behind the wheel.

Over the last two Festive RIDE campaigns, OPP issued more than 1,200 suspensions and almost 1,400 impaired charges throughout Ontario.

While the most recent national stats state there were almost 90,300 impaired incidents in Canada in 2011, Ontario’s numbers were the lowest of the provinces that year, according to OPP’s Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander, Traffic Safety and Operational Support. He credits enforcement, education, and compliance with laws as some of the reasons responsible for Ontario’s favourable outcome.

That being said, it’s important to take note of how many people are still being charged with impaired and alcohol related driving offences throughout the year.

Sadly, everyone has heard heartwrenching stories about the victims of impaired driving, and sadder still, some people have experienced the tragedy of such loss first hand.

Take a second to think about those stories.

Think, too, about the ripple effect of a car crash involving an impaired driver. Paramedics, firefighters and police attend and investigate. Injured parties are transported to hospital and possibly to complicated and costly surgery. Unsuspecting families are informed of personal injury or death. Husbands or wives are perhaps left widowed, children possibly motherless or fatherless.

All because someone -- maybe you -- took the risk to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

And though these messages of vehicular responsibility, sobriety and safety tend to coincide and peak with annual RIDE launches when the Christmas season gets underway, it remains equally true all year round.

However, while such messages at this time of year necessarily focus on alcohol, drug-impaired driving is also an ongoing concern for law enforcement. Young adults, for instance, those aged 16 to 24, are more likely to smoke cannabis and drive than drink alcohol, according to the Canadian Safety Council. Regardless of age, motorists who use marijuana and get behind the wheel are driving while impaired and face the same legal sanctions.

In the simplest terms, there’s no need. No need to drive after drinking. No need to be the cause of grief to your family or others. No need to require emergency services. No need to be a source of embarrassment to your loved ones.

Stay sober if you’re driving this Christmas season. Stay sober all year round.


Source: Northumberland News


Last updated on: 2013-11-28 | Link to this post