Don't drink and drive

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The message is simple: if you choose to drink alcohol, don’t drive.

“Absolutely,” said Oxford OPP Staff Sergeant Tim McCoy.

It’s appropriate for all 365 days of the year, but the mantra is one that gets repeated a little more regularly during the extended holiday season.

“There’s an emphasis at Christmas, just because of the way the festive season is,” said McCoy. “People do a lot more socializing and we want to ensure people stay safe while they are.”

Arriving home safely should always be part of the equation: selecting a designated driver, arranging a ride from a non-drinker, walking or calling a cab. There is an associated cost to the latter, but it pales in comparison to the potential of a decision to drink and drive.

Safety is the paramount consideration says McCoy, who has seen personally the consequences of bad decisions.

“The emotional cost is high – for people on both sides of the equation.”

Beyond the number one issue of injury or worse to not only the driver, but those in the same and other vehicles, serious financial considerations including costs to the health care system, legal fees, fines, insurance costs and loss of income due to the potential for incarceration can be staggering.

“It’s a huge social cost,” said McCoy. “It should be absolutely obvious to everyone what the choice should be – and that is don’t drink and drive.”

Enhanced enforcement of the Festive Ride Program is a major and annual initiative to battle drinking and driving. It is currently underway says McCoy, and enhanced enforcement will continue through New Year’s.

Its ‘front end’ has a three-pronged approach focusing on prevention through visibility, deterrence and education.

“And then there’s enforcement.”

In a perfect world, the latter would be unnecessary says McCoy, but unfortunately a world without drinking drivers does not yet – and may never – exist.

“I’ve been at it a quarter century and we haven’t been able to eradicate it,” he concluded. “There’s always someone out there who makes a bad choice, and our job is to deal with that.”



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