The first day of winter has not yet come but it is definitely obvious that it has already reared its ugly head. Ponoka has already witnessed snowfall, icy roads and record freezing temperatures, without the wind chill.
Everywhere you look people are bundled up, complaining about the cold, and starting their vehicles to warm them up before braving the small walk to their car.
Since the falling temperatures and snowfall there have already been a handful of car accidents due to the slippery roads, some being fatal, others being critically injured and some receiving minor scrapes and bruises.
With the holiday season already a go, it’s important to not drive under the influence of alcohol after a night of drinking.
There have already been work parties in Ponoka but those that are still to come, please find a ride home if you have been drinking.
I know the saying “Don’t drink and drive” and “Friends don’t let friends drink and drive” are well known and have become somewhat cliché, but the meaning holds true and the importance of it grows with the holiday season.
The icy roads, combined with the unsteady hands of a drunk driver could prove to be fatal for the driver, passengers and other motorists on the road.
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website there are an average of four Canadians killed each day as a result of drunk driving. There are 196 Canadians who are injured because someone decided to drive under the influence.
During the course of the year approximately 72,000 Canadians are impacted by drunk driving.
This number needs to go down. With all the consequences associated with drinking and driving, I don’t understand why this number is still so high. And with how simple it is to not get in the drivers seat after a night of partying there should not be any drivers on the road. It does not take much to throw down your keys and call a cab, a friend or Operation Red Nose to drive you home. It also doesn’t take much to arrange for a designated driver from your group of friends, and it takes little effort to stop someone from getting behind the wheel when you know they are drunk. The resources are available so that no one is stuck drinking and driving.
The consequences for driving under the influence is risking taking someone’s life, or your own. There are also legal consequences and negative outcomes in life.
If convicted of impaired driving a Canadian can lose their licence for at least one year. A guilty person will have a criminal record and a huge hike in their motor vehicle insurance premiums. If your job involves driving, you may lose your livelihood as well.
Having a criminal record could cause problems in advancing in or finding employment. It could even pose problems with traveling overseas or crossing the border into the United States. A criminal record could also affect a person’s status in their community.
Drunk driving can have a serious impact on a convicted person’s wallet as well. In Canada, there are fines, legal fees, extra insurance and a possible loss of job and income. It can be calculated that a person who has been convicted of drunk driving once can face a lifetime cost ranging between $50,000 and $60,000 just for one night of drunk driving.
People who are visiting or have immigrated to Canada and are caught driving impaired face even greater consequences.
They can be deported or denied entry into Canada if they are endangering others on the road after drinking. A person who is looking to come to Canada can be denied if they have been found guilty of impaired driving.
Don’t take the risk when it comes to drinking and driving, and if you can’t stay sober these holidays, use the resources available to get you and everyone else on the road home safely. It’s not worth it to take someone’s life and hurt their families or mess up your own life.
This holiday season have fun, drive safe and keep warm.