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Don’t drink and drive

(Cartoon by George Longley)

Around the holidays many people find themselves feeling alone or depressed or are overwhelmed by their busy social calendars.

This can often lead to drinking, which impairs decision-making, cognitive abilities and more.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have launched their annual holiday campaign, and the message is easy enough: don’t drink and drive.

The Project Red Ribbon Campaign targets the holiday season due to how busy people’s social calendars are at this time of year.

President of MADD Durham Trisha Dosal Makarov points out even this year, which has seen fewer social events due to COVID-19, will still see parties and celebrations over the holidays.

For those who plan to drink, it’s important to plan ahead. Call an Uber or a taxi, assign a designated driver, or find a place to stay where you don’t have to drive.

It’s important for everyone to leave their car at home if they are planning to partake in any drinking, or the use of recreational drugs.

It isn’t just for your own safety, but for others too.

The Red Ribbon Campaign takes place around the same time as Durham Regional Police Service’s annual Festive R.I.D.E. season, which saw 19,624 vehicles stopped in 2019.

Of those drivers stopped, 787 people were given roadside breath tests, and 86 received three, seven, or 30-day suspensions for registering a “warn.”

In all, 2019’s R.I.D.E. saw 104 people in Durham charged with drinking and driving offences, four drug offences, and seven Cannabis Act offences.

While those are all bad outcomes, they are not the worst thing that could happen from driving impaired.

According to MADD, up to four Canadians are killed every day due to impaired driving.

In 2014, 2,297 Canadians lost their lives in road crashes. MADD says it’s estimated 1,273 of those were from a crash where at least one driver tested positive for alcohol and/or drugs.

While drinking may have its appeal around the holidays, it’s important to remember, if you are going to drink, plan ahead, and most importantly, don’t drink and drive.