Yukon police are stepping up drunk-driving checkpoints and bringing back a program that rewards designated drivers this year, in a bid to ensure needless accidents don't spoil the winter holidays.

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A motorist blows into a breathalyzer to check for alcohol content at a police checkstop. Yukon RCMP are stepping up drunk-driving enforcement in the lead-up to the winter holidays. (Canadian Press)

The annual RCMP road stops campaign began Friday, with the territory's traffic unit getting help from other officers and auxiliaries.

Cpl. Shawn Pollard, who heads traffic services, reminded motorists that being charged with impaired driving doesn't fit with what should be a joyous season.

Although he said drinking and driving is typically a bigger problem during this time of year due to parties where alcohol is served, nobody should spend the holidays in a jail cell because of poor judgment.

Gifts for designated drivers

"It is a good time of the year. It is a time to enjoy your family and friends, and you don't want to ruin a nice holiday season by having something like this happen," Pollard said.

Anyone planning on drinking should rely on a designated driver, or figure out alternative transportation for getting home rather than getting behind the wheel themselves.

Pollard said the success of a previous rewards program that gave designated drivers gift packages donated by local businesses would return for a second year.

Volunteers with the Yukon chapter of MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) will be working with police to distribute the bags of goodies.

"The public really likes that and again, it just really enhances what we're trying to do to get the word out to drive home sober, get someone to drive you home, and having a designated driver," Pollard said.