(Black Press file photo)

Impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable

Mounties embrace impaired driving CounterAttack campaign

CounterAttack is a police-run roadblock tactic that catches drug and alcohol impaired drivers, and helps reduce injuries and fatalities. CounterAttack campaigns have been run in B.C. for over 35 years, and typically take place during July and December. A major part of CounterAttack is getting the message out that B.C.’s impaired driving laws are tough, impose harsh penalties on impaired drivers and make it likely impaired drivers will be identified and removed from B.C.’s roads.

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 2019 that average had dropped to 68 people, but it’s still not enough because impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable.

Expect police to be out on the roads looking for motorists who’ve been drinking and driving or have recently consumed cannabis this holiday season.

The RCMP in B.C. launched their Winter Counterattack campaign the beginning of December. Drivers can expect to see road checks on any road or highway well into the New Year.

On average, 68 people lose their lives because of impaired driving each year in B.C., according to an RCMP press release.

“The road check may delay you a few minutes, but please have some patience as our officers are there to protect you,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the release. “Don’t make that conscious decision to drive while impaired. It’s just not worth it and may cost you not only your licence, but your life or someone else’s.”

For everyone who plans to be consuming alcohol or other substances that can cause impairment at holiday season celebrations, police recommend leaving their vehicles at home or arrange for a designated driver – be it a friend or commercial designated driver service to bring everyone and their car home safely. Police also suggest car pooling with a designated driver, taking a taxi or using public transit.

Police also ask, if someone is suspected of driving while impaired or an impaired driver is spotted on the road, to pull over to the side of the road, call 911 immediately, and provide the licence plate of the vehicle, vehicle description and direction of travel.

Serving Alcohol?

It’s important to know the responsibilities that go along with serving alcohol – you have a personal and legal responsibility for the well-being of your guests. The Insurance Corporation of BC’s Special Occasion Permit Kit helps spread the CounterAttack message at events where alcohol is served. Posters, banners, brochures, tent cards and more are available for your event to remind everyone of the dangers of impaired driving.

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