Have fun, but plan a safe ride home

Operation Red Nose volunteers will take you and your car back to where you started

Operation Red Nose can help you out.

Operation Red Nose can help you out.

Is it your turn to be the designated driver?

The province, police and ICBC have launched the December impaired driving CounterAttack campaign, and that’s the question they want drivers to ask themselves this holiday season.

Plan for a safe ride home and share the responsibility of being the designated driver to help make sure your friends and family get home safely.

Police will be conducting CounterAttack road checks across the province in December to raise awareness and help reduce impaired driving crashes.

On average, 127 lives are lost in impaired-related crashes each year in B.C.

“Celebrating with family and friends is an important part of the holidays,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“And getting home safely should be part of everyone’s holiday planning. We know that B.C.’s tougher impaired driving laws are working – 45 fewer people have lost their lives since the legislation was introduced last year. We are making great progress and we are committed to building on that success.”

Police will be out in full force across the province conducting CounterAttack road checks, said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Victoria Police and Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.

“As police officers, we see the heartbreaking effects of impaired driving all too often, and we know how easily it can be prevented,” he added.

Jon Schubert, ICBC’s president and CEO, said: “We want everyone to enjoy their holiday season festivities with friends and family, but do it responsibly – plan ahead for a safe ride home.

“There are so many alternatives. Set an example – take your turn to be the designated driver. Your smart driving decisions can have a significant influence on others.”

ICBC supports CounterAttack through enhanced police enforcement and an awareness campaign, and provides CounterAttack materials to businesses, sports facilities and community groups to help prevent impaired driving.

ICBC also lends support to Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service in 12 communities across B.C. that provides safe rides home to drivers who have been drinking or feel unfit to drive during the holiday season.

Operation Red Nose is available in Maple  Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

This year it is expected Operation Red Nose Ridge-Meadows will surpass the 1,000 rides mark and overtake last year’s total to reach 450 rides.

On it first weekend of operation this year, the service gave 47 rides home. It gave 84 rides home on Dec. 9 and 10.

It operated again last weekend. Its last day is Dec. 31, from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.

• To book a ride call 604-515-6673 or 1-877-604-NOSE,  or go to www.operationrednose.com for more information.

• For holiday season driving tips and more on the CounterAttack campaign, visit icbc.com.