OUR VIEW: Being responsible behind the wheel not limited to drinking and driving

With all the holiday festivities people should not only be responsible with drinking and driving.

The holiday season is upon us and there have already been a number of related events that have taken place in Grand Forks and the surrounding area, even though December is only a week old.

People are making their respective preparations for Christmas and for other festive season gatherings as well and sometimes there are alcoholic beverages to accompany all the cheer and merriment.

Despite a B.C. Supreme Court judge recently ruling that part of stricter drinking and driving penalties (introduced in September 2010) were unconstitutional, there will still be CounterAttack road stops popping up randomly and increasingly during the festive season.

There have even been reports that the stricter penalties have led to a reduction in drinking driving-related deaths – in the 12 months since the new penalties took effect there were said to be 68 such deaths and in the 12 months previous to that, there were said to be 113.

While the Grand Forks Gazette’s website poll is informal and not scientific, it was a little surprising that over 60 per cent of respondents said that the fear of being pulled over at a road stop would not affect their Christmas party plans this year.

The need to be responsible while going out for a drink – not just during the festive season – is something that is repeated again and again, not just the RCMP but a number of other organizations too, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Responsible driving doesn’t only mean you have a designated driver when you go out for a few drinks, however. It can also extend to something as simple as buckling up when driving.

Over the last week there have been two tragic accidents in the Kootenay Boundary region that have resulted in deaths and both may have been prevented had people been wearing seat belts.

With a number of holidays coming up, including Christmas, it seems only natural that people be festive and enjoy a drink and it is also a normal occurrence to see people head out of town to visit relatives.

But people should be responsible and exercise good judgment too.

December may be the time of year to be jolly but it’s always good to buckle up and abstain from drinking and driving, holiday season or not.