As New Year’s Eve draws near, the RCMP want to remind Canadians that more people are killed by impaired drivers each year than are murdered.
“Every year impaired driving is the number one cause of criminal death in Canada,” said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff with Alberta RCMP Media Relations.
He said impaired driving continues to destroy families regardless of the volunteer effort and money spent on education campaigns.
“The horrible thing about it is it’s a preventable thing. Despite all the effort being put in, it seems to not register with certain people who unfortunately get behind the wheel and drive.”
More often than not drivers are impaired by alcohol rather than cannabis or other drugs, he added.
In Red Deer check stops have been held throughout the season since early December and will continue to the New Year, placing extra focus on impaired drivers.
Savinkoff said the focus on enforcement during the holidays means that more impaired drivers are caught. However, some drivers who are more cautious during the season will let their guard down and drive impaired after the holidays.
MADD Canada urges everyone to ring in the New Year safely by planning ahead.
“If you get behind the wheel impaired, you are risking your licence, your freedom and, most importantly, your life and the lives of others,” said MADD Canada National President Jaymie-Lyne Hancock in a statement.
“This can all be avoided by spending a few minutes to plan your sober ride home.”
MADD says everyone can do their part to prevent impaired driving tragedies by:
• Never driving impaired.
• Never riding with an impaired driver.
• Calling 911 to report suspected impaired drivers.
Party-goers planning on drinking or consuming cannabis should plan a sober transportation option by booking an Uber, taking a cab or public transportation, arranging a designated driver, or planning to spend the night.
MADD says party hosts should also take the following precautions:
• Have lots of food and non-alcohol/low alcohol beverages available.
• Serve drinks yourself so you can monitor how much your guests are consuming. Don’t serve alcohol to guests who are already intoxicated. Stop serving alcohol long before you expect the party to wind up.
• If guests are consuming cannabis, try to be aware of their consumption/impairment levels.
• Know how your guests are getting home and who is driving.
• If you have Uber in your area, download the app.
• Have taxi numbers available.
• Be prepared to have intoxicated guests spend the night at your house.