The office and house Christmas party season is in full swing and with it comes the yearly call to do so in a responsible manner.
For those who want to remain reckless in heeding that call, they have to look no further than Bill C-46 which takes affect Dec. 18 for how that carelessness can change their lives forever.
The holiday season is one of checkstops, but Bill C-46 extends the power of police officers in their fight against drunk drivers.
Police can require a roadside breath test for any driver. The crucial change is they will no longer need reasonable suspicion the person has been drinking.
Drivers who refuse this test face a criminal charge with similar penalties to an impaired driving conviction.
If those extended powers do not raise the consciousness of responsible holiday drinking for some, nothing will.
But really, with some pre-planning, it should not be that hard for everyone to have a safe and celebratory Christmas season where Bill C-46 proves moot.
No, this does not mean having the unrealistic expectation of having an alcohol-free celebration for all. For many parties, good conversation with good libations go hand in hand, but we all can have a hand in spreading the message of safety and responsibility for our celebrations with family and friends.
Businesses can lead the way, showing they care about their employees by perhaps offering free shuttle or taxi service home after an office party.
If you live close by where your party is, make sure you bring plenty of warm clothing to bundle up in and walk, do not drive home if you have hit the value-added eggnog a little too hard. You can always pick up your vehicle the next morning/afternoon with a brisk walk back.
If you are planning the Christmas shaker of all shakers at your house, inform your guests they will be leaving their car keys with you and they can grab a couch, extra bedroom or sleeping bag on the floor overnight to sleep over as there will be no chance at drunk driving.
Yes, your residence may look like a college dorm for one night, but so what, it shows you care for your family and friends’ well being.
If there is a non-drinker in your group, anoint them the designated driver for a car pool the night of your party for a safe ride home (and thank them for the gesture with a present afterwards — it should not just be expected).
If you must get your vehicle home, then sorry, pace yourself cautiously with very few drinks along the night with plenty of food in-between.
You will often find you do not need to drink like your college days where just a few over many hours coupled with good conversation with family and friends will suffice.
If you have any doubt in your mind that you have had too much, you probably have and do one of the things mentioned earlier.
As the old adage goes, with all the awareness that is out there about drunk driving and checkstop season being in full gear, along with the latest legislation in Bill C-46, there is no excuse in getting behind the wheel when you have consumed too many spirits, celebrating the spirit of the holidays.
Just a few minutes of pre-planning can save you a lifetime of grief.
All it takes is one bad decision for you possibly losing your job through a suspended licence from drunk driving or worse — injuring or killing a loved one or complete stranger, causing eternal grief that easily could have been prevented.