40 years of Counter Attack

40 years of Counter Attack

The number of impaired driving fatalities has dropped significantly since the Counter Attack campaign started in 1977. In the 1970s an average of more than 300 people died each year as a result of impaired driving. By 2017 that average had dropped to 65 people. That’s an 80 per cent decrease, but it’s still not enough because impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable.

Planning ahead, stepping up as a designated driver, or using Operation Red Nose where it is available are some easy ways to eliminate impaired driving. Below are more tips and information to help you, your friends, your family and your community do your part for road safety during the holiday season and throughout the year. There’s no excuse, and there’s no escape.

Each year police take numerous impaired drivers off the road, and members of our local Mounties have been appointed to Alexa’s Team in recognition of their success in removing impaired drivers from the road.

The message is simple: in this jurisdiction, impaired drivers get caught.

There’s no excuse for not planning ahead. We know a lot more now about impaired driving than we did in 1977. For instance, impaired driving is one of the top three factors in driving fatalities in B.C. Also, most impaired crashes happen on the weekend. And, most importantly, 100 per cent of impaired crashes are preventable with a little planning.

Make a plan: choose a designated driver, make room in your entertainment budget for cab fare, or spend some extra time and take transit. Just don’t get behind the wheel impaired. Even if you don’t plan ahead, there’s no excuse.

Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t work out. We get it.

For those nights when you didn’t plan to drink, but you did anyway call a cab, a friend, Operation Red Nose, take transit, or find overnight accommodation.

Drug impaired driving is just as dangerous as alcohol impaired driving. Marijuana doubles your chance for an accident. Drugs impair your ability to drive by affecting balance and coordination, motor skills, attention, judgment, reaction time, and decision making skills. Like alcohol-impaired driving, drug-impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable.

You can help get impaired drivers off the road…by reporting them. In 1977 the only way to report a suspected impaired driver was to wait until you got home or to find a pay phone. Things have changed.

If you suspect a driver is impaired, get the license plate number and vehicle description then pull over (or use hands-free in your vehicle) and call 9-1-1 immediately.

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, says, “CounterAttack, along with tough penalties and education has impacted positively on driver behaviour. But the fact remains that people are still dying on B.C. roads because of impaired driving – either drugs or alcohol. One life is too many and the police will be out in force this holiday season to protect everyone using our roadways. We once again remind B.C. drivers: there is no excuse to drink and drive.”

In the last five years, 11 people have been killed and 36 seriously injured in impaired driving related crashes in B.C. between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. CounterAttack road checks are now in full swing across the province to help keep impaired drivers off our roads during the holidays.

• “Many years ago in Prince George I was doing a ride along with the RCMP. We were parked outside a bar. A person came out of the bar, opened the rear passenger door and sat down. Believing they were in a taxi they gave their address. The officer noted the address was close so he drove them home. When they tried to pay, the officer gave them his business card and said, “Tonight’s ride is on us – thanks for calling a cab.” I guess in this case the RCMP was the designated driver and I have no doubt the next day many questions about the trip home must have been going through the passenger’s mind when they saw the police card.”

• “I delivered an intoxicated friend to an address he gave me only to find out the next day that he didn’t live there. The residents looked after him and I drove him to his actual home the next day.”

• “I drove a couple of friends home after a Christmas party and neither one could remember how to get to their houses. We played ‘Does this look familiar?’ for over two hours in two different cities…”

• “I was designated driver for my brotherin- law in Belgium this summer. I got to drive his Mercedes CLS 320. If only I had more friends with high-end or exotic cars. Anyone with a Porsche Turbo need a driver?”

• “I was driving someone home and he was giving me directions. When we arrived, he got out and was met at the door by a woman who refused to let him in. Turns out, they had been divorced for two months and in his drunken condition, he forgot he no longer lived there.”

• “Wife’s 20-year reunion. Some of the occupants thought they were in a taxi and tried to pay me.”

• “I was designated driver for 12 ladies celebrating a birthday. I rented a van and drove them to several bars. I was surrounded by all these beautiful women and they would only dance with me… I never had a better night in all my single life.”

• “Listening to my friends sing ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ over and over again.”

• “When my son called me at 3 a.m. to get a ride home… He was in his late twenties and he said, “You know how you always told us when we were teenagers that you didn’t care what time we called that you would give us a ride home rather than drink and drive, or drive with someone who was drinking? I never took you up on it, so I am calling in that offer now!”

There’s a lot going on around you when you drive. You need to be totally focused so that if a split-second – and potentially life-saving – decision needs to be made, you’re ready for it. Drugs affect your ability to react and increase the chance of a crash. Marijuana doubles your chances of being in a crash. Don’t get behind the wheel or get in a car with an impaired driver — it’s just not worth the risk. Stay safe out there!

Source: RCMP and ICBC