Zero Alcohol – Your Smart Choice
Snowmobile safety has always been challenged by riders who make the poor decision of considering alcohol to be necessary. The CCSO has taken a clear position statement; under Zero Alcohol – Your Smart Choice organized snowmobiling advocates that every snowmobiler take the personal responsibility of choosing to ride impairment free. By making the Smart Choice all participants can choose not to have any impairment prior to going snowmobiling or during any ride.
Ten reasons to adopt the Smart Choice position:
- Choosing the “Zero Alcohol – Your Smart Choice” approach will save lives and reduce injuries.
- Alcohol increases the risk of other factors such as excessive speed, night riding, ice riding, road crossings or riding unfamiliar terrain, including off-trail.
- Alcohol increases the risks associated with snowmobiling to an unacceptable level.
- Snowmobiling takes place in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural setting.
- Snowmobiles offer fewer structural and safety features to protect participants, being more like motorcycles than automobiles.
- Alcohol research clearly shows that with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% a person is 11 times more likely to get killed while driving a car than at .00% BAC.
- Impairment starts with the first drink.
- “Zero Alcohol – Your Smart Choice” is a good news story that will help change public perception of snowmobiling.
- “Zero Alcohol – Your Smart Choice” is an excellent risk management strategy that will help protect rider’s overall insurability and reduce their liability.
- “Zero Alcohol – Your Smart Choice” is a positive factor in recruiting new participants.
The CCSO has partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving ( MADD ) since 2002 to kick off International Safety Week every January with the 1st day called ‘Alcohol Awareness Day’. This day of celebration is to bring awareness to trail heads and trail riders about riding alcohol free and to always make the “Smart Choice” when it comes to any impairment while snowmobiling.
The CCSO wants you to try snowmobiling and always to return home safely. Remember that snowmobiling is an off-road activity and occurs in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural environment. Your sled can easily take you miles away from home, where help isn’t readily available if you get into difficulty.
When was Zero Tolerance first adopted?
In an effort to eliminate alcohol as a major contributing factor in snowmobiling fatalities and injuries, the snowmobiling community unanimously adopted a “Zero Tolerance” position on drinking and riding. At the International Snowmobile Congress in June 2002, the snowmobile organizations endorsed a 0.0 percent blood alcohol content as the only acceptable level while riding a snowmobile.
The incidence of alcohol involvement in preventable snowmobiling fatalities and injuries is well documented, with the highest proportion of alcohol-related snowmobile crashes occurring at night among 19-34 year old males. This behavior is unacceptable to most snowmobilers, responsible, family people who do not drink and ride, so the snowmobile community launched the “Zero Tolerance while Snowmobiling” Campaign. It is meant to reinforce and complement existing safety initiatives such as public education, policy/legislation and enforcement already in place in many jurisdictions across the country.
One of the images that the general public has about our sport is that all snowmobilers drink alcohol while operating their snowmobiles. And, as we all know, that is not the truth!! This image is perceived due to a high majority of fatal accidents, as well as other accidents, involving the snowmobile operator’s use of alcohol. We need to change this image.
The Zero Tolerance program is voluntary! It is not a mandatory program and does nothing to reduce current laws that set the legal blood alcohol level. It is hoped that peer pressure will prevail and that snowmobilers will not ride with those who have consumed alcohol.
What will Zero Tolerance mean for the sport of snowmobiling?
It will mean that every snowmobiler will be asked to take the “Zero Tolerance Pledge”. The pledge will be one that says, “Zero Tolerance I Say, ’til I’m Done For the Day.” The individual will not consume alcohol of any type while operating a snowmobile, until the snowmobile day is done.
Do the right thing – don’t drink until the snowmobile is parked for the day