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Drunk driving Charity provides thousands of safe rides for tipsy revellers

traffic and giant bear mascot

The Nez Rouge mascot waves as Geneva police officers and border patrol members check drivers for alcohol and drug consumption.

(Keystone)

So far this month, Swiss charity Nez Rouge (red nose) has helped 20,500 people who were unfit to drive. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone, nearly 4,000 people got a free and safe ride home thanks to the group’s many volunteers. 

Every December since 1990, Nez Rougeexternal link has provided a free ride service to help prevent people from driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or exhaustion. This year there are 6,282 volunteers throughout Switzerland, and they will continue to serve until New Year’s Day. 

+ Many Swiss admit to drunk driving

+ Swiss Alcohol Board says consumption is down 

Teams of three volunteers report for each ride request. One takes the wheel for the person who can’t drive and a second rides along to help coordinate. The third follows in a Nez Rouge car. 

The weekend before Christmas was especially popular, with Nez Rouge driving nearly 5,000 people home. This year’s offer has been in demand particularly in cantons Aargau and Jura. 

Over the past three decades, 145,312 Nez Rouge volunteers have driven 7,778,455 kilometres to bring more than 400,000 people home safely. 

Nez Rouge got its start in Quebec, Canada, when a university swim team launched the service in 1984. A Swiss doctor in canton Jura adapted it in 1990. 

The Swiss group can be reached free of charge at 0800 802 208.

swissinfo.ch/sm

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