BCAA asks drivers to make the right call during holiday season and choose responsible transportation options

A designated driver, taxi or call for Safe-Ride-Home service are some ways to get home safely

BURNABY, BC, Dec. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - With festivities in full swing, the increase in social activities to celebrate the holidays and the New Year also means an increase in the risk that some drivers will get behind the wheel of a vehicle after they've become impaired by alcohol or drugs. The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) and the BCAA Road Safety Foundation urge party goers to celebrate responsibly and make transportation arrangements ahead of time in order to get around town and arrive safely at home.

BCAA recognizes that some Members may find themselves in an unexpected situation where they're unable to drive for reasons such as medical treatment, physical injury or consumption of alcohol. As part of its commitment to improve road safety, BCAA introduced its Safe-Ride-Home service in 2010, making it a permanent Membership feature.

The Safe-Ride-Home service, available year round, provides one tow home for a Member and their vehicle per year should they find themselves unable to drive.

"BCAA is proud to offer this service to our Members," says BCAA President and CEO, Tim Condon.

The organization understands that a variety of situations that make it dangerous for someone to drive can happen at any time. "By providing another safe transportation option, we'd much rather Members call us for help when they feel they're unable to drive then take a risk and try to drive anyways which could endanger themselves and other people on the road," says BCAA Associate Vice President of Road Assist, Ken Cousin.

BCAA and its Road Safety Foundation also remind party hosts and businesses that the issue of impaired driving is everyone's responsibility.

"People attending private functions or socializing at bars and other alcohol licenced premises may not be thinking about how they're going to get home," says Cousin. "Party hosts and businesses should be prepared for this situation with non-alcoholic drinks, designated drivers, guest accommodations, or other options to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. They should also be prepared to discuss these alternative transportation options with their friends, family members and customers."

BCAA and its Road Safety Foundation offer tips to help keep you, your friends, family members and customers safe on the roads this holiday season:

Plan your night out - Leave the car at home and take public transit, taxis or arrange for a designated driver service. You can even call a tow truck company to take you and your car home. If the party is at a friend's house, plan to spend the night and drive home the next day after the effects of the alcohol have fully worn off.

Be a designated driver - Take turns being the designated driver - when it's your turn, stick to beverages without alcohol.

Be a good host - Have a variety of alcohol-free beverages like pop, juice, or even trendy "mocktails" on hand. Have some of your guests agree to be designated drivers and not consume any alcohol. If you're concerned that any of your guests are impaired, insist they take a taxi or offer the spare bed or the couch. A disagreement over safety with a friend is better than risking the alternative.

Role modelling - Parents, remember your kids watch and learn from you. It's important that you demonstrate safe and healthy driving behaviours at all times. Never drive impaired.

Call home anytime - Young people celebrating the holidays often won't admit that they or their friends drink or use drugs. To them, it's worth the risk to drive or ride with a driver who is impaired rather than deal with an angry parent. A "family contract" agrees that the kids can call home at any hour for a safe ride home. Parents, plan a discussion with your kids about the dangers of driving while impaired.

Drug impairment - Be aware of anyone who is impaired by something other than alcohol, whether it's medications or illegal drugs such as marijuana, and ensure they don't drive. Mixing alcohol and drugs can be lethal for all road users.

For more details about BCAA's Safe-Ride-Home service, visit bcaa.com/saferidehome.

About BCAA
BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one-in-four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of award-winning home, auto and travel insurance products and services, and roadside assistance. Members can also benefit from CAA Dollar rewards, savings on BCAA insurance products and exclusive offers at Show Your Card & Save locations throughout the province. BCAA has a proud history of serving British Columbians for over 105 years, over $400 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 800 employees. BCAA has also received the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates award for "Highest Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada". To learn more about the benefits of BCAA Membership, visit bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Road Safety Foundation visit BCAARoadSafety.com.

SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information:

Editor's notes: 
For further information, or to request an interview, please contact:

Niela Melanio
BCAA Public Affairs and Media Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Cell: 778-228-8859
Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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