Saanich Police has launched a campaign with MADD Canada to promote sober driving during the holiday season.
Several agencies including Saanich Fire, BC Transit, ride shares, taxi and BCEHS have joined the partnership in which people wear a symbolic red ribbon.
“MADD Canada’s red ribbon is a symbol of the wearer’s commitment to never driving impaired,” said Const. Adam Defrane of Saanich Police.
Project Red Ribbon is an annual awareness campaign to promote sober driving, with participants asked to place red ribbons on vehicles, key chains and backpacks.
Along with sober driving, people are asked to plan ahead if they will be drinking or consuming drugs.
Defrane, who is also the MADD Canada Director for BC and the Yukon, says he’s proud to bring this campaign to his workplace.
“No one campaign is better than any other campaign, they’re all doing important work; I just felt it was important that anytime you can get more education out there, I want to be a part of that,” Defrane said.
Defrane is also one of the few Saanich officers who specializes in detecting impaired drivers.
“I can tell you every day on every roadway in British Columbia, across Canada, there are impaired people operating motor vehicles,” said Defrane.
Data from police shows that hundreds are caught driving impaired in Saanich. In 2021, 223 drivers were caught. Last year, the number of impaired drivers rose to 293.
As the holiday season nears, the number of impaired drivers caught stands at 276 and officers hope it won’t increase before the end of the year.
“It is completely unacceptable to drive impaired at anytime and we are going to be there the next few months and always to enforce these laws,” said Sgt. Damian Kowalewich.
The department’s annual CounterAttack program is set to begin at the beginning of December.