November 15, 2006 by Canadian Underwriter
The Insurance Bureau of Canada is teaming up with Ontario Safety League to give partygoers a free ride this holiday season.
At a news conference held in Toronto, IBC announced it is sponsoring Operation Red Nose (ORN) in seven Ontario communities and other communities in Alberta and the Atlantic provinces.
The popular program offers a volunteer designated driver service for holiday revelers, while at the same time raising money for charity. (The service is free, but donations are accepted.)
“Insurers are delighted to be sponsoring such a worthwhile program for the second year in a row,” says Mark Yakabuski, vice-president, federal affairs and Ontario, of IBC. “It’s a natural extension of our industry’s long-standing commitment to road safety.
“Last year, thanks to the industry’s support, approximately 7,400 Ontario impaired drivers were driven home with the help of 6,400 volunteers.
“In Newmarket/Aurora, where Operation Red Nose operated for the first time last year, there was not one impaired-related collision reported during the nights that the program was in service.”
IBC is contributing more than Cdn$1 million to Operation Red Nose in Ontario, through a grant to the Ontario Safety League. The grant is intended to help administer the program and a wide-ranging advertising campaign. The campaign is designed to raise public awareness of ORN and mobilize volunteer drivers.
In addition, IBC is securing insurance coverage for all volunteers.
Ontario Safety League president and general manager Brian Patterson explained at the Toronto press conference how the program works.
“Commencing in December and continuing throughout much of the holiday season, Operation Red Nose provides a way for holiday revelers, who don’t feel fit to drive, to get themselves – and their cars – home safely,” Patterson said. “Motorists who call Operation Red Nose are picked up by a team of three volunteers in an escort car, and then driven in their own vehicle to the destination of their choice.
“The escort car tags along and, at the end of the trip, drives the volunteer team to pick up other clients or back to the local headquarters.”
Operation Red Nose currently operates in Chatham-Kent, Hearst, North Bay, Sudbury, Kingston, Quinte/Belleville, and Newmarket/Aurora. Most operations are active Thursday to Sunday during the month of December.