News release

Province, Police Launch Operation Christmas

SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS--Province, Police Launch Operation Christmas


Nova Scotia's Road Safety Advisory Committee is teaming up with police services across the province for Operation Christmas, an annual program to reduce impaired driving during the holiday season.

"Our message is simple: If you drink, don't drive!" said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations' director of driver and vehicle safety, Paul Arsenault. Mr. Arsenault is also the chair of the Road Safety Advisory Committee.

Police officers from several departments and the RCMP set up two checkpoints in Kentville today, Dec. 3 to officially launch Operation Christmas.

In the coming weeks, Operation Christmas checkpoints will be set up across Nova Scotia. While the focus will be on impaired driving, police will also look for current registration and insurance, valid Motor Vehicle Inspections stickers, seat belt use and other safe driving measures. Motor vehicle safety checks may also be conducted by provincial inspectors at some checkpoints.

Operation Christmas will wind down early in 2004.

To keep people informed about the impact of Operation Christmas, officers will report checkpoint activity immediately. An up-to- date summary of cars checked, the number of 24-hour suspensions issued, and the number of impaired driving charges laid will be available on the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations website http://gov.ns.ca/snsmr/stats/ .

"While many drivers understand the dangers of drinking and driving, it remains a serious road safety concern," said Mr. Arsenault.

In 2002, there were 487 collisions involving alcohol in Nova Scotia; down from 537 collisions in 2001. Of these collisions, 25 involved fatalities, up from 23 fatalities in 2001. One in three fatal collisions involves alcohol.

"Young people are particularly at risk: one in five fatal or serious alcohol-related collisions involved someone aged 20 to 25," said Mr. Arsenault.

The Road Safety Advisory Committee includes representatives from the province's Department of Justice, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, and the Department of Transportation and Public Works. The RCMP and municipal police services are also represented. Other government agencies represented on the committee include the Utility and Review Board and the Seniors' Secretariat.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Operation Christmas, the annual anti-drunk driving campaign mounted by the province and the police began in Kentville today (December 3rd).

Municipal police officers and members of the RCMP will be setting up checkpoints across Nova Scotia throughout the holiday season and their message is simple: If you drink, don't drive.

There were 487 alcohol-related collisions and 25 fatalities involving alcohol in the province last year.

Young people are particularly at risk. One in five serious alcohol-related collisions and fatalities involved someone aged 20 to 25.

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Contact:

Kevin Finch
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-2733 E-mail: