Law enforcement agencies across Nova Scotia teamed up today, Nov. 26, to launch Operation Christmas, the annual campaign to reduce impaired driving during the holiday season. Checkpoints targetting impaired drivers were set up in Bridgewater to signify the start of the provincewide initiative. Vehicles will be stopped for enforcement and to remind drivers to plan ahead to get home safely. “As a police officer, I have seen first-hand the devastation drunk driving has on the lives of others,” said Justice Minister Ross Landry. “We have zero tolerance for impaired drivers and are serious about getting drunk drivers off our roads. We all have a role to play to ensure those who drink don’t drive.” “It’s wonderful to see law enforcement agencies from around the province working together to get impaired drivers off our roads,” said Vicki Conrad, Ministerial Assistant for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, on behalf of Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “Operation Christmas is one of several initiatives in Nova Scotia to fight impaired driving.” Operation Christmas is a joint effort by government and police agencies to improve highway safety in Nova Scotia. “With our RCMP colleagues from the South Shore, we are pleased to host this very worthwhile anti-drinking and driving annual initiative in the Bridgewater area,” said Bridgewater Police Deputy Chief John Collyer. “It is our hope that, through high-profile events such as Operation Christmas, impaired driving will become even more socially unacceptable, thereby, saving more lives each and every year in Nova Scotia.” Impaired driving is one of the leading contributing factors in fatal collisions in Nova Scotia. During the first 11 months of 2009, there were 17 fatalities in Nova Scotia involving impaired drivers. “The most devastating problem on our roads today is impaired drivers,” said Insp. Sput McCarthy, officer in charge of RCMP Traffic Services, Nova Scotia. “Officers across the province work throughout the year to educate drivers on the impact impaired driving has on the safety of those travelling our roads. The importance of working together with community partners cannot be understated as we all strive to make roads safer and stop this criminal activity.” “The really disturbing thing is that each and every death and injury is 100 per cent preventable,” said Margaret Miller, national president of MADD Canada. “Each and every Nova Scotian can do their part to stop impaired driving. It’s everyone’s problem.” Last month, the province passed some of the toughest legislation to fight impaired driving. New legislation will increase the suspension time for people who register .05 on a roadside alcohol screening test.