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EDITORIAL: High time for better driving decisions

Let’s hope that this holiday season is remembered for good decisions

It’s that time again, when police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off the road.

The effort – known during the holiday season as CounterAttack – much like the message that driving while impaired is bad, is far, far, far from new.

And yet, the need to drive it home year after year has yet to fade.

READ MORE: White Rock, Surrey RCMP CounterAttack campaigns underway

According to ICBC, an average of 17 people are killed every year in the Lower Mainland in crashes involving impaired driving.

For those who think that number sounds small in comparison to the area’s 2.8-million or so population, and that perhaps the concern is exaggerated, try talking with friends or family members of someone who has died because an impaired driver got behind the wheel.

Or, sit down – socially-distanced, of course – with someone whose own life was drastically altered by a similar decision.

There are people who call the Semiahmoo Peninsula home who know the damage firsthand. Some of their stories have been told over the years in these pages, including that of former White Rock mayor Catherine Ferguson, who fought her way back from catastrophic injuries suffered when she was hit by a drunk driver.

And of Cloverdale filmmaker John Banovich, who underwent 43 surgeries in the three months that he spent in ICU after being hit by a drunk driver more than two decades ago.

Four-year-old Alexa Middelaer’s 2008 death shook the community. The tot was simply enjoying a roadside visit with her favourite horse when she and her aunt were hit by a Ladner woman who drove impaired.

These are just a few of the impacts felt in this community as a result of impaired drivers.

To think that anyone would be unmoved by such stories is unimaginable, as is a scenario where anyone old enough both to become impaired and drive would be oblivious to the potential consequences.

Sadly, the statistics suggest otherwise.

So, as police in Surrey and White Rock join their counterparts across the province in rolling out increased enforcement, let’s hope that this Christmas season, at least, is remembered for good decisions.

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