December 3, 2007

B.C. CounterAttack impaired driving road checks are now underway

Vancouver, British Columbia – This year’s holiday season Drinking Driving CounterAttack campaign kicked off in British Columbia on December 1, with more than 125 RCMP and municipal offers, along with members of the Integrated Road Safety Units, setting up road checks along Highway 1 from Whistler to Boston Bar.

Aerial support was provided by Air 1, B.C.’s traffic safety helicopter, while representatives from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) attended road checks to raise awareness about Operation Red Nose and other ways to get home safely this holiday season. The blitz was part of the month-long provincial driving campaign dedicated to getting drinking drivers off B.C. roads.

“Drinking and driving is a serious offence with potentially deadly consequences,” said Solicitor General John Les. “We’ve brought in stronger impaired driving legislation with a focus on increased enforcement, higher penalties and mandatory rehabilitation to deal with drunk drivers, but the best way to save lives is to not drive drunk in the first place.”

Drunk drivers stopped at the road checks or elsewhere face a range of penalties, including immediate 24-hour roadside suspensions and vehicle impoundment, 90-day driving prohibitions, criminal charges, fines, jail time, mandatory rehabilitation and ignition interlock. ICBC’s Driver Risk Premium also comes into effect in January 2008, and will result in high-risk drivers paying as much as thousands of dollars more each year.

Prior to the launch of CounterAttack in 1977, B.C. had the highest number of alcohol-related traffic crashes in the country, with drunk drivers causing more than 300 deaths on B.C. roads in 1976. Thirty years later, B.C.’s population has increased by about 60 per cent, but the number of alcohol-related deaths on B.C. roads has declined by more than half. Drinking and driving remains a serious problem in B.C., with 127 lives lost and approximately 3,400 people injured in alcohol-related crashes in 2005. Approximately 28 per cent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2005 were related to drinking and driving.

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