New #0804 impaired driving campaign to launch

A new drinking-and-driving campaign will be launched across Saskatchewan over the August long weekend, including posts on social media to remind people not to drink and drive.

The campaign combines the efforts of MADD Canada, the ministry of Corrections and Policing, the ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, SGI, SLGA and other partners to get the message out, including by sharing safe ride cards and engaging the police in conversations at establishments.

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In response to a high rate of impaired driving in Saskatchewan, SGI and the provincial government created tougher penalties for impaired driving, along with funding for more police officers and hard-hitting public service announcements.

Over the long weekend, organizers are using the dates of 08/04, which is also the alcohol content used by provincial and federal authorities for charging for impaired driving.

They are encouraging motorists to follow @Sask0804 on twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and ask people to use the hash-tag, #Sask0804 or #howareyougettinghome.

In Saskatchewan, the impaired driving rate in 2016 was about 550 per 100,000 population, which is the highest among the provinces, with only the territories at a higher rate. The national rate is around 200 per 100,000 of population.

Residents are encouraged to plan ahead if they know they will be drinking or using drugs, and suggest calling a cab, staying the night or arranging for a designated driver. In Weyburn, most establishments use an arrangement with the Weyburn Police Service to surrender one’s keys in exchange for a free ride home, through the “Ride’s On Us” program.