Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Safer streets one driver at a time

Operation Red Nose holiday-ready

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It's 16 straight years and counting as Operation Red Nose gears up for another holiday season of offering Manitobans a safe ride home.

Launched for the season on Nov. 30, volunteers will pick up people and give them a lift home, using the participant's own vehicle.

Operation Red Nose ends after the last New Years Eve partygoer gets home safely.

Judy Murphy, the president of Safety Services Manitoba, which oversees Operation Red Nose provincewide, said the increasing number of people who use the service proves it's a success.

"Last year, we had over 3,400 people get a ride with Operation Red Nose," said Murphy. "That is 3,400 people who otherwise may have been on the road intoxicated."

Murphy said the goal of the campaign is to show there is always a better way to get home after a night of drinking, whether it's through Operation Red Nose or by making other plans.

"This campaign has set out an awareness message to everyone. We don't want people leaving it until it is time to come home because by that point the judgment is impaired," she said. "Just have Red Nose in your phone or do other things -- but always have a plan."

Operation Red Nose has more than 2,000 volunteers.

The service is free, although volunteers accept donations from passengers. Last year, Operation Red Nose received $62,000 in donations, which goes back to the organizations that help run the campaign.

In Winnipeg, Operation Red Nose is run by the Manta Swim Club. To book Operation Red Nose in advance, call (204) 947-NOSE (6673).

Approximately 40 people die every year in Manitoba from alcohol-related traffic accidents.

Brian Smiley, spokesman for Manitoba Public Insurance, said along with campaigns such as Operation Red Nose, law enforcement uses proactive measures to help curb impaired driving during the holiday season.

"The roadside checks have become a major deterrent and have really been working because Winnipeg police have adjusted their strategy," Smiley said.

"Police now go to the restaurant or the bar and wait for customers to leave."

david.baxter@freepress.mb.ca

3,400

Number of passengers who used Operation Red Nose in 2011

16

Number of years the program has run in Manitoba

2,000

Number of program volunteers

 

40

Number of alcohol-related vehicle deaths in Manitoba each year

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2012 A2

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