Operation Red Nose

Operation Red Nose

By: Rya Kobewka
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Over the next few weeks we will all be attending holiday parties, work events and family dinners. Its likely alcohol will be present at some of these festive get-togethers. Despite the knowledge that impaired driving is illegal (and downright dumb), and increased road checks – drunk driving still happens, resulting in more than 30% of alcohol related crashes involved those aged 16-24.

Operation Red Nose has made it a whole lot easier to get yourself home after a few drinks during the holiday season. Their purpose is to get drivers and their cars home safe. There is no set fee for the service, rather it’s all by donation, and 100% of the funds are redistributed to non-profit youth organizations and youth sport organizations. Each year well over $1,000,000 is donated to these deserving groups.

Operation Red Nose started in Quebec in 1984 by Jean-Marie de Koninck, a math teacher and swim coach. After hearing alarming rates of drunken driving crashes and motorists using the excuse they wanted their car in the driveway in the morning, he had an idea. That first winter in 1984, de Koninck recruited the members of his swim team to group together to drive both the individual and their car safely home.

The idea was a huge success and is now a national program across Canada. Last year during the holiday season over 746 rides were requested in British Columbia alone. Operation Red Nose is a worthy program to spread the word about, both as a tool for the holidays and as a possible volunteer opportunity.

Each year more than 50,000 volunteers make this program a success, help keep impaired drivers off the road and keep our communities safe. Each pick-up requires an escort driver, volunteer driver and navigator. The escort driver uses their personal vehicle to drop off the volunteer driver and navigator off, and provide a ride back to volunteer headquarters. The volunteer driver is in charge of getting the impaired drivers automobile home, and the navigator rides with the volunteer driver to make sure everything goes well. Volunteers are also needed at headquarters to answer phone calls and coordinate driving teams.

If this volunteer opportunity interests you, check online for more information about getting involved, or email mcfortin@operationnezrouge.com. Remember to stay safe this holiday season, be responsible and stay off the road if you have been drinking.

By Rya Kobewka

Posted on December 01, 2011