Government, law enforcement agencies and MADD Canada are working together again to help keep impaired drivers off the roads this holiday season.
Operation Christmas, a yearly campaign aimed at reducing impaired driving and encouraging motorists to practice safe winter driving, was launched today, Dec. 1, in Bridgewater.
“Driving while impaired puts the public at great risk and every person has a responsibility to stop it,” said Justice Minister Mark Furey. “If you plan to drink this holiday season, arrange for a safe way home. If you’re with someone who has been drinking, don’t let them drive.”
Impaired driving is a leading cause of preventable death and serious injury on Nova Scotia roads.
Bridgewater Police Service is working with Lunenburg County District RCMP to host the campaign. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada will also participate in Operation Christmas.
“There is always an option other than driving while your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired,” said Cpl. Darren Slaunwhite of Lunenburg District RCMP.
Police will set up checkpoints targeting impaired drivers across Lunenburg County during the campaign. More checkpoints will be in place across the province throughout the holiday season. Motorists are also encouraged to call 911 if they see a driver who appears to be impaired.
“Random checkpoints at this time of year help us to make drivers more aware of their behaviour,” said Acting Chief Scott Feener, Bridgewater Police Service. “Every year this program helps save lives.”
It is illegal under the Criminal Code to drive with a blood-alcohol level above .08. Police are trained to test for alcohol impairment at the roadside. A driver in Nova Scotia can lose their licence for a week or more for driving with a blood-alcohol content of .05 to .08. Anyone who fails the roadside test can be required to take a breath test at the detachment and could be charged with impaired driving.
“The Christmas season is the busiest time of year, with holiday toasts to good cheer, and the risk of impaired driving is greater,” said Susan MacAskill, MADD Atlantic regional manager. “We don’t want there to be an empty place at the dinner table this year.”