Editorial: Stay sober when you drive this Christmas

It’s in your own best interests and your community will thank you

The numbers are, pardon the pun, sobering.

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP and Integrated Road Safety Unit did a blitz over the weekend in Cowichan and removed no less than 10 impaired drivers from the road. Ten, in two days.

Nine people were given immediate road side prohibitions for various terms, while one is facing a Criminal Code impaired driving investigation. In addition, the stopped two people who were already prohibited from driving.

And to think, we’re just at the start of the holiday season where, traditionally, there are lots of events where the alcohol starts flowing freely and people partake in some Christmas cheer.

The RCMP noted in their press release that more than half of impaired driving crashes happen on the weekend. Another statistic for you from the Province of British Columbia: the immediate roadside prohibition program has been a big success with alcohol related fatal crashes down 50 per cent in 2018 from 2010. The program’s initial goal had been a 35 per cent reduction. Data is not yet available for this year, as we haven’t played out the final few months yet. Let’s all hope those numbers don’t take a jump in our last few months of the year. Every new number is another tragedy for family, friends and community.

In terms of how many people have received various driving prohibitions from police so far in 2019, the numbers are low compared to previous years, sitting at a total of 12, 791 through September (comparatively, the last three years have all seen between 21,000 and 24,000).

We expect those numbers will rise as this is the time of year when impaired driving blitzes are scheduled, because of the higher risk. But you can prove that prognostication wrong. All you have to do is not get into your car before you’ve had a chance to sober up.

By choosing not the drink and drive this Christmas, not only will the community thank you, you’ll be doing the best thing you can do for yourself.

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