July 28, 2017

Be A Good Wingman: Don't Let Impaired Friends Drive

New SGI campaign wants you to be a friend for life

You and your group of lifelong friends are out for a few drinks. One of your buddies grabs their keys and is about to drive home.

Do you say anything, or do you just let them go?

It is something SGI is asking everyone in Saskatchewan to think about.

SGI’s latest advertising campaign “Be a Good Wingman” challenges Saskatchewan people to do the right thing and stop impaired friends from driving, even when it feels uncomfortable.

“It is something that plays out on decks and patios, around campfires, and in bars and rinks across Saskatchewan,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said.  “You and your friends are enjoying a few drinks and someone you are with is about to drive home.  How many times have you asked, ‘Are you okay to drive?’ and then let it go when your friend said ‘yes,’ even though you knew it wasn’t true?

“Being a good wingman is really a call to action,” Hargrave said.  “When someone is impaired, their judgment is also impaired, so it is important to stop them if they are about to do something that could hurt themselves or others.  If your impaired friend is about to drive, intervene.  Offer to call a cab, a sober friend, or a safe ride service. Take away their keys and let them stay the night.  Whatever you do, do not let them make the wrong choice and drive away if they are impaired.”

Saskatchewan has among the highest rate of impaired driving incidents out of all Canadian provinces, and it is the leading cause of fatal traffic collisions in the province.  In 2016, preliminary numbers show 54 people were killed and 456 were injured in 1,085 crashes involving drugs or alcohol.

“When someone is impaired, and has their keys in hand, a real friend needs to step up,” Hargrave said.  “Even if it is awkward or uncomfortable to have that conversation, it is better than letting them drive away, risking death or injury.  Let’s make this a province where it is never OK to drive impaired.  Where we all expect that, if we are impaired and about to drive someone is going to stop us.”

The “Be a Good Wingman” campaign launch coincides with August’s Traffic Safety Spotlight on impaired driving.  Throughout the month, police across the province will again be watching for drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

See the “Be a Good Wingman” ad by following SGI on Facebook www.facebook.com/SGICommunit, Twitter www.twitter.com/SGItweets and Instagram www.instagram.com/SGIphotos, or visiting www.sgi.sk.ca/wingman.

Spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #BeAGoodWingman and using SGI’s Wingman filter for your profile picture.  SGI’s website has more information about impaired driving www.sgi.sk.ca/individuals/penalties/consequences/index.html.