Although local police departments launched campaigns this month to target impaired driving due to alcohol, medication, or drugs, officers are continuing to remove numerous drivers from roads.
The Delta Police Department (DPD) took to social media to address an egregious example that endangered the lives of youths.
Around 9:15 a.m. on December 17, police stopped a vehicle that was driving through a school zone in Delta.
When officers asked the driver to use a breathalyzer, the driver failed the test.
The driver received a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) and his vehicle was impounded.
“One of the most selfish things someone can do is get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they are impaired,” the DPD stated in a social media post. “By not taking the steps to ensure that you have an alternative ride home after a night (or morning) of drinking, you are putting someone else’s life in danger. Because of your selfishness, a child, parent or friend may not be home for the holidays.”
Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley youths are participating in efforts to address the issue of how impaired driving can endanger others.
The Abbotsford School District, the Abbotsford Police Department (APD), B.C. Liquor Stores, and ICBC joined forces to launch the Think of Me Project to remind motorists of who else is on roadways.
Middle- and high-school students from the community decorated over 1,000 Think of Me bags with colourful images and messages, which will be given to B.C. Liquor Store customers with their purchases to remind them about the impact that impaired driving can have on others.
Similarly, on December 17 Langley RCMP also delivered 3,000 Think of Me bags to B.C. Liquor Stores featuring artwork with messages about impaired driving by Langley elementary students.
B.C. RCMP and local police departments launched their winter counterattack programs for the holiday season at the beginning of this month.
The campaign includes officers enforcing the federal Cannabis Act and B.C.’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act.
Langley RCMP stated on December 17, targeted impaired-driving enforcement resulted in one Criminal Code charge for impaired driving, two 24-hour IRPs, one 30-day IRP, three 3-day IRPs, and two 90-day IRPs.
Meanwhile, Chilliwack RCMP stated on December 13 that on December 7, officers removed six impaired drivers from the Yale Road near the Trans-Canada Highway overpass, and issued four roadside prohibitions (ranging from three to 90 days) and two 24-hour driving prohibitions.
Impaired driving fines can range from $600 to $4,060.
The APD noted that, according to ICBC, an average of 1,500 impaired driving–related collisions take place across the Lower Mainland every year. In 2018, 17 people died and 860 people were injured in these crashes.
According to Burnaby RCMP, an average of 68 people die each year in B.C. due to impaired driving crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or medication (based on a five-year average from 2013 to 2017).
Police recommend options such as having a designated driver, carpooling, or taking a taxi or public transportation.
Also, the volunteer-run Operation Red Nose provides rides to drivers and passengers who feel unfit to drive on weekend nights during the holiday season.
Operation Red Nose, sponsored by ICBC, is available to those living in Burnaby, New Westminster, the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Belcarra. and Anmore), Langley, Surrey, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Chilliwack.