Merry Christmas from the RCMP

It's the festive season, and the RCMP are urging residents to be responsible as they celebrate.

It’s the festive season, and the RCMP are urging residents to be responsible as they celebrate.

“With the Christmas season upon us, I would like to remind the citizens of the East Kootenays to plan their evenings and drive responsible,” Cpl. Shayne Parker of East Kootenay Traffic Services said in a recent release.

The message comes as B.C. celebrates a successful year of its new impaired driving program. On Nov. 21, the province announced that an estimated 104 lives had been saved and incidents of impaired driving have dropped significantly.

The immediate Roadside Prohibition Program was introduced in September, 2010. Since then alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths have dropped to 62 a year – a 46 per cent decrease from the average of 114 over the previous five years. The provincial government set a goal in 2010 in honour of imparied driving victim Alexa Middleaer to reduce alcohol-related deaths by 35 per cent. They reported that new research suggests they have more than met that goal.

“The message that I would like to get across is very simple: if you drink any amount, don’t drive,” Parker said.

The RCMP as usual around this season will be out on the roads ensuring the community has a safe and happy holiday.

“We are out there, and we will be looking for violators,” Parker said.

For those planning to throw a holiday party this year, Parker said it is the onus of the host to ensure all their guests are safe — even when they leave.

“You are civily responsible for the safety of the people you serve,” he said. “It is important that you are consious not to over serve and that you are able to provide them with options for a safe ride home.”

With that, Parker wishes everyone a safe and Merry Christmas.

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