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SGI puts festive spin on message to plan safe rides this holiday season

WATCH: SGI is hoping some modern twists on holiday classics will strengthen the message not to drink or get high and drive.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has received an unsolicited update as a cautionary tale about a driver who gets high before getting behind the wheel.

Rudy the Red-Eyed Smoker was written and performed live by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) workers at Regina’s Cornwall Centre on Monday.

Drawing a crowd at the mall, the rendition was one of three remixes aimed at preventing people from driving impaired this holiday season.

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“There is never a reason to drive impaired. There are so many different options,” said Tyler McMurchy, SGI media relations manager.

“That’s one of the things the songs refer to — you can call a cab, call a sober friend, stay the night, call a rideshare, take a bus.”

READ MORE: Moose Jaw family pushing for tougher impaired driving sentences

McMurchy noted that December numbers for impaired driving charges in Saskatchewan are often lower than those of other months due to heightened awareness.

According to SGI, police officers catch between 200-400 impaired drivers every month.

Ride options expanding in Saskatchewan 

This year marks the first holiday season that ride-sharing giant Uber is operating in Saskatchewan’s two largest cities. Uber came to Saskatoon in February and to Regina in May.

Operation Red Nose — which provides people and their vehicles a safe ride home — is once again running in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Yorkton and the Battlefords.

READ MORE: Operation Red Nose searching for non-profit to host service in Regina

Companies such as First Choice Designated Driver Service in Regina, which has teams of two to take drivers and their vehicles home, are getting ready for busier weekends ahead.

“Fridays and Saturdays, of course, there’s more people heading out to Christmas parties at the present time, and other functions, so we want to make sure we get them home safe,” said owner Tony Fiacco.

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Fiacco said there’s between 15 to 18 teams available weekend evenings, adding he’s partnering with members of the Queen City Kin Club to fill the void of Operation Red Nose in Regina this season.

Police, RCMP check stops planned

Drivers planning to head home in their own vehicles are reminded that city police and RCMP will have numerous check stops throughout December.

“We don’t take holidays off. Our traffic service members will be out on the road. We will be conducting check stops in remote locations and unexpected places,” said Cpl. Rob King, Saskatchewan RCMP spokesperson.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan police highlighting impaired driving in August

Drivers caught exceeding the provincial limit of .04 blood alcohol content (BAC) face a three-day licence suspension and three-day vehicle seizure.

Exceeding .08 BAC behind the wheel is a criminal code offence leading to an immediate roadside licence suspension and vehicle seizure.

There’s zero tolerance for drug-impaired driving in Saskatchewan with a punishment of immediate licence suspension and vehicle seizure.