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Editorial: Alcohol and driving are still a deadly cocktail

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reminds us that drinking and driving is still a problem
Charlie Grahn, treasurer and board member of for MADD Metro Vancouver, launches the 25th annual Project Red Ribbon campaign in North Vancouver. | Brent Richter, North Shore News

As we accelerate into the festive season, this week the Metro Vancouver chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving launched a reminder of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after too much holiday cheer.

For some people, of course, no reminders are needed. They are the families of people whose names we see attached to small memorial crosses at the side of the road.

With such serious drug problems like the opioid crisis in our midst, drunk driving hasn’t had much of a spotlight in recent years. Yet last year the North Vancouver RCMP logged more than 250 impaired driving investigations, pulling multiple drivers off the road. Those are the best-case scenarios.

The worst cases are those like that of Burnaby couple Marcelina and Leonilo Agulay, whose vehicle was hit by a drunk driver going 180 kilometres per hour on Low Level Road in March 2021. She died on the way to the hospital. He died a few months later.

Impaired driving crosses many societal lines. Over the years, we’ve reported on lawyers, politicians, police officers, bus and taxi drivers who have driven drunk, as well as plenty of regular folk. Because of its relative affluence, the North Shore tends to have a high per capita rate of alcohol consumption.

Luckily, there are options when it comes to drinking and not driving. While Operation Red Nose isn’t running locally this year, taxis and ride hailing services are available. Transit and SeaBus also offer good options for a safe ride home. Call a friend. Or walk.

Most importantly, have a plan on how to get home before sipping that first holiday cocktail.

You won’t regret it in the morning.

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