With the festive season underway, the province is urging drivers to stay safe and sober behind the wheel. “Keeping impaired drivers off our roads is important all year round,” said Murray Scott, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “However, during the busy holiday season, we’re reminding drivers to take extra care and be responsible.” Campaigns such as Operation Christmas have law-enforcement agencies targeting those who drive while impaired by setting up checkpoints throughout the province. Operation Christmas is a joint effort by government and police agencies to improve highway safety in Nova Scotia. The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s annual Operation Red Nose campaign, which has volunteers drive callers home in their own vehicles, is another important program that encourages responsible drinking and driving behaviour. MADD’s Red Ribbon campaign reminds Nova Scotians to drive safe and sober and that injuries and deaths resulting from impaired driving are completely avoidable. “Ultimately, it’s all about preventing needless deaths and injuries on our roadways,” said Margaret Miller, national president of MADD Canada. “We commend the Nova Scotia government for its recent initiatives and add that, in the end, these measures will help to insure that more Nova Scotian families will be sitting safety around their holiday table.” Ninety-nine people were killed on Nova Scotia roads last year. Of those, 32 were alcohol-related fatalities. Alcohol was the leading contributing factor to fatal collisions in the province last year. “Nova Scotians expect, and deserve, safe highways and streets. And we all share in this responsibility,” said Mr. Scott. “I hope this holiday will be safe and happy for all Nova Scotians.” The province has introduced several legislative, enforcement and awareness initiatives to fight impaired driving, including an alcohol ignition interlock program and the integrated impaired driving enforcement unit. Last month, the province introduced tough, new legislation to fight impaired driving. The proposed legislation would increase the suspension time for people who blow between .05 and .08 on roadside alcohol screening tests.
The Justice Ministry said that 117 prisoners at the Welikada prison, 62 in Palakale and 50 inmates of the Anuradhapura prison are among those freed today.All those freed were in jail for minor offenses and did not include convicts jailed for rape, child abuse or heroin use and drug trafficking. President Maithripala Sirisena today released 762 prisoners under a Presidential pardon to mark Vesak.An event was held at the Welikada prison to free the inmates with the participation of the President. Among the prisoners freed are 736 males and 26 females, the Justice Ministry said. Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale said that the President used the powers vested in him to grant pardon to the 762 prisoners.