Nova Scotia drivers are being reminded to plan ahead to get home safely this holiday season as law enforcement agencies across the province teamed up today, Nov. 25, to launch Operation Christmas. Operation Christmas is an annual campaign to reduce impaired driving. Checkpoints targeting impaired drivers were set up in Truro to signify the start of the province-wide initiative. “Operation Christmas is one of several initiatives in Nova Scotia meant to help keep our loved ones safe from drunk drivers,” said Justice Minister Ross Landry. “It is a program that makes our roads safer, particularly during the holidays, and reinforces our zero tolerance for impaired drivers in Nova Scotia.” “The days of having a couple of drinks and getting behind the wheel are long gone,” said MLA Vicki Conrad, on behalf of Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “The province, in partnership with law enforcement across Nova Scotia are sending a clear message that if you drink and drive, there are serious consequences.” “The Truro Police Service is committed to a safe community and are thrilled to be hosting the 2010 Operation Christmas launch,” said Truro Chief of Police David MacNeil. “Law enforcement agencies across Nova Scotia are working diligently to detect and apprehend impaired drivers in an effort to keep Nova Scotia’s roads safe. It is extremely important that during the holiday season people remember not to drink and drive.” Impaired driving is one of the leading contributing factors in fatal collisions in Nova Scotia. During the first 10 months of 2010, there were 14 fatalities in the province involving drivers who were impaired. “RCMP is resolved to make the apprehension of impaired drivers a top priority,”said Insp. Sput McCarthy, Officer in Charge of RCMP Traffic Services, Nova Scotia. “For those who contemplate this selfish and wreckless act, beware that all law enforcement agencies will be on the lookout for you. The RCMP also urge all Nova Scotians to help stop impaired drivers by calling 911 if you suspect an impaired driver.” Last month, legislation came into effect that toughens the consequences for people caught driving with a blood-alcohol level between .05 and .08 in the province. “Operation Christmas has become a traditional reminder to Nova Scotians that impaired driving is never the answer, especially at this time of year,” said Margaret Miller, past-president of MADD Canada. “It is our hope that everyone have a safe and happy holiday free of the death and injury that comes with driving impaired.” For more information on the legislation, visit the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal website at www.gov.ns.ca/tran.