SGI is out with its latest impaired driving campaign.
“Be a Good Wingman” challenges people to step up to the plate and stop impaired friends from driving, even if they find it hard to say anything.
The numbers from 2016 show that 54 people were killed and 456 were hurt in 1,085 crashes involving alcohol and drugs.
Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for SGI, said the wingman campaign is another way to keep the conversation around impaired driving going.
“We’re talking about friends getting involved, establishments getting involved, this is going to help,” he said.
June’s SGI safety campaign saw the highest impaired driving rate of the year with 376 tickets issued. Hargrave said the real number SGI is looking for are the lower numbers of impaired deaths and impaired injuries.
“We know there’s more enforcement out there because we’ve encouraged more enforcement from all the police forces. So the fact that the numbers are going up doesn’t surprise me because we’re out there and we’re pushing hard. We want to make sure that these impaired drivers are picked up, that they aren’t causing injuries (and) they aren’t causing deaths,” he said.
Due to more police enforcement and punishments for drunk drivers, including taking vehicles and licenses away, Hargrave said a larger focus on the issue is why the public is seeing the numbers go up.
Out of the 376 tickets issued in June, 333 were criminal code charges for being over .08. Hargrave said Saskatchewan has a problem and that’s what the numbers are telling us. He said there are still some people not listening and not getting involved and that’s where the Be a Good Wingman campaign comes in.
Regina’s Victoria’s Tavern approached SGI about being involved in the campaign, and Hargrave said it’s great to see establishments like this get involved.
“Most of the taverns and most of the establishments in the province are excellent and they involve their staff in not over serving and helping people get a safe ride home, Victoria’s Tavern is one of them, leading by example, I think it’s incredible,” Hargrave said.
Hargrave said the last SGI campaign featured real people who died due to drunk driving and this latest campaign is just an extension of that.
“A real wingman is a good friend. Don’t’ let your friend die, or cause someone else’s death, because you didn’t take action, so (the campaign) is asking you to take action and be responsible for your friend as well, because their impaired, their making bad decisions, you be the responsible person and make that good decision for them, help them make that right decision,” Hargrave said.