Six hundred thirty. That's the number of people Halifax Regional Police and Halifax District RCMP have charged to date in 2012 for impaired driving. That's a staggering amount of people who not only put their lives in jeopardy but also the innocent lives of others when they chose to drive impaired.
What's even more alarming is that some people we charged with impaired driving were between three or four times the legal limit. This should have almost incapacitated them but somehow they thought they were alright to get behind the wheel. In some cases, they ended up dead wrong, literally.
On a more positive note, many citizens are taking an active role in keeping our roads safe. We see an average of 35 per cent of impaired driving cases per month being called in by concerned citizens. If you suspect an impaired driver, call 9-1-1 immediately.
The holiday season is a time that often brings with it parties and gatherings that involve alcohol. If you're planning to indulge, keep these tips in mind:
• Plan ahead for designated drivers.
• Don't drink and drive.
• Don't get in a car with someone who has been drinking. Take a cab or public transit, or call a sober friend for a ride.
• Call 9-1-1 if you suspect an impaired driver on our roads. Take note of the license plate, description of the car and direction of travel.
• If you're hosting a party, offer non-alcoholic drink options, and take keys from people if they've been drinking. Call cabs for your guests at the end of the evening or offer them a place to sleep it off.
• Please drink responsibly.
Respecting each other on our roads
Motorists: Is where you're going more important than someone's life? Slow down and keep a watchful eye out for pedestrians.
Pedestrians: Crosswalks don't come with a protective shield. Wear brightly coloured clothing, look both ways, watch for vehicles and make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before stepping off the curb and into a crosswalk.
Hard-hitting messages? Perhaps, but something different needs to be said to make it so pedestrians and motorists show respect for one another.
Over the last month or so, police have responded to an alarming number of pedestrian-vehicle collisions, many of which occurred while the pedestrians were in a marked crosswalk. Just last week, Halifax Regional Police responded to four pedestrian-vehicle collisions in a 24-hour period. It's time that drivers and motorists alike take responsibility for everyone's safety on the road.