A popular holiday road safety program is putting the call out for volunteers again this year. Operation Red Nose — aptly named after the most famous reindeer of all — is looking for more B.C. drivers.
ORN held an event Wednesday morning at the Bill Copeland Arena in Burnaby hoping to register more drivers. The organization connects volunteers with anyone who feels they might be impaired and unable to drive themselves or their friends home after holiday festivities.
Cannabis users welcome
The service is sponsored by ICBC and its focus is to provide a safe drive home after holiday parties which typically include drinking. But Marie-Chantal Fortin, ORN's national development co-ordinator, says drivers will take anyone home, including cannabis users, no questions asked.
"That includes fatigue, it can include emotional distress, it can include use of drugs and medications. We drive people under all sorts of impaired conditions. We will gladly take them home without discriminating."
ORN has been operating in British Columbia for 23 years, with 11 B.C. communities taking part each Friday and Saturday from November to the end of December.
Surrey, Langley, Vancouver not taking part
Last year, the non-profit group running the Surrey and Langley chapters opted out. Since 2016, a lack of volunteers has forced the City of Vancouver to also opt out.
The service is completely free, but people using it are encouraged to give a donation. All the money earned goes directly to youth-based charities.
ICBC says each year, about 65 people die as a result of impaired driving.