Operation Red Nose kicks off 2016 campaign

By Tanya Cronin
November 17, 2016 - 4:20pm Updated: November 17, 2016 - 6:32pm

KAMLOOPS — It's a program designed to combat impaired driving. The 20th annual Operation Red Nose Campaign in Kamloops is returning for another year. 

Beginning November 25th the designated service will pick you and your car up, and take you home after a night out, helping party goers stay safe this holiday season. 

The program, which officially kicked off it's 2016 campaign today, relies heavily on volunteers, and all proceeds from the service go towards local athletes.

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With just over 5 weeks to go until Christmas, everyone will soon be into the holiday spirit. The season of cheers can bring with it lots of cocktails, but there's a service to guide you home if you have a little too much fun.

"A lot of people are out celebrating having some drinks, it's just an alternative safe ride home for people to get their vehicle and themselves home," says Katie Klassen, Operation Red Nose Coordinator.

Operation Red Nose is gearing up to hit the streets for another year. The program's provincial kick-off was held in Kamloops Thursday, with a roaring 20's theme to mark the 20th anniversary here in the city. Beginning November 25th, volunteers will spend their weekends chauffeuring anyone who's had too much to drink, or just doesn't feel fit to drive.

"It's a great opportunity to remind people they can make good decisions for themselves by using a service like Operation Red Nose and by doing so they're making a good decision for themselves and a good decision for other people on the roadways as well," says Ingrid Brakop, Road Safety Coordinator, ICBC. 

The annual free-ride campaign runs throughout the country. A team of three volunteers will pick you up and take you home in your own vehicle, stopping people from driving drunk and helping to prevent collisions that may injure or kill.

"Impaired driving does remain an issue, there's no question, and programs like this help to mitigate those collisions," says Brakop.

In BC, while tougher drinking and driving laws are in place, Kamloops RCMP say this designated service is still vital to saving lives.

"Kamloops isn't immune to it, I've worked across Canada and it's straight across Canada, and it doesn't die off with older generations, our young drivers on the road and drivers in their 30's and 40's. It continues to be a problem, it hasn't gone away," says Sgt. Bob Fogarty, Kamloops RCMP.

The designated service has proven popular in Kamloops over the last several years, giving safe rides and collecting donations that go directly to Pacific Sport, to support our local amateur athletes.

"Last year we did 1,211 safe rides home and we raised close to 30,000 in client donations," says Klassen.

Beginning in December, police will be conducting zero tolerance roadchecks. And with thousands of alcohol related rashes every year in the province, it's hoped everyone indulging in a drink this Christmas, will take advantage of a sober driver.  

"Starting in December we have our Counter Attack check points going on, and the citizens will see us out there on the weekends or at night, and programs like this go a long to help us and we can't say enough about the volunteers and organizers," says Sgt. Fogarty.

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