With the rising number of people using their cellphones while operating a vehicle lately, the problem of impaired driving may seem slightly muted.
Police charged 13 people with distracted driving in a safety blitz on Friday and noted how the volume of those charges have skyrocketed in recent years - in 2010, RCMP issued 249 violation tickets but between June 2011 and February 2012, nearly double that number of tickets were slapped on drivers.
At the same time, the province trumpeted news last month that a 46 per cent decrease in impaired driving has occurred since its tough drinking and driving laws came into force in September 2010.
But impaired driving is not a matter to be complacent about, particularly at this time of year when people are attending more seasonal parties than any other.
As we pointed out in a Saturday story, over the 2007 to 2011 period, the Southern Interior averaged the most deaths per year in all of B.C. as a result of impaired driving.
Tossing a few back and then driving home continues to be a very real problem. Last year, the RCMP were shocked to catch 14 intoxicated drivers in one December weekend's CounterAttack blitz, seven times more than the average.
If the fear of hefty fines and a loss of driving privileges isn't enough of a deterrent, think about how it would feel to lose a loved one or cause another family's devastation as a result of something so completely avoidable.
There is simply no reason to get behind the wheel after drinking when there are so many options available.
Operation Red Nose, for instance, will send a volunteer to drive you and your car home on a Friday or Saturday night if you've been drinking, so there's no waking up in the morning and having to try to figure out how to retrieve your car.
Arrange for a designated driver not to drink, see if a sober friend will pick you up or grab a cab.
As RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned warned, "We want people to recognize that if they do drink and drive, there is a significant likelihood that they're going to get caught."
Don't take a chance drinking and driving, it's just not worth it.
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