Holiday revelers are being reminded leave the car at home — or make other plans for a safe ride — as police across B.C. gear up for their annual crackdown on impaired driving.
Saturday marks the kickoff of the month-long CounterAttack campaign, the first since Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use.
However, the B.C. RCMP says it is prepared and equipped to catch drug-impaired drivers and that officers will be using Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and specially trained Drug Recognition Experts.
WATCH: Drunk driver uses tragedy to save lives
Police will be conducting enhanced enforcement in B.C. communities, including beefed-up road checks and co-ordinated efforts like the Vancouver Island District Traffic Services’ “Light Up the Highway” event, which involves checkpoint stops along the length of the island.
According to ICBC, an average of 68 people die every year in collisions where alcohol or drugs were involved.
“A small decision can have great consequences,” said Supt. Davis Wendell, Officer in Charge of BC RCMP Traffic Services in a media release.
“If you are planning on drinking or using drugs this holiday season, please do not drive. By finding an alternative way home such as public transit, taxi or a designated driver you can ensure that you, and others sharing the road with you, get to their destination safely.”
WATCH: Bill C-46 helps gives Canada a strong regime against impaired driving
Drivers caught impaired behind the wheel can face a variety of stiff penalties in B.C.
Those include driving suspensions from 24 hours to 90 days, vehicle impoundment, fines ranging from $600 to $4,060, or even jail time.
Drivers could also be slapped with a Driver Risk Premium on their insurance.
Police and ICBC are encouraging people who know they will be drinking or using cannabis to plan ahead and to consider taxi or transit service, to call a friend or to use programs like Operation Red Nose to get home.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
- GlobalNews.ca offers Canadians from coast to coast a host of news and information – from breaking news in their town or city to deep engaging content that puts complex world issues in perspective. Our 11 local sites provide up-to-the-minute community-based news, weather and information, while our new umbrella national site features stories, analysis and deep, engaging content about issues in Canada and abroad.
- News2018.12.04‘Don’t get hung up on pot’: Manitoba premier responds to Winnipeg mayor’s call for cannabis cash – Winnipeg
- News2018.12.04Nova Scotia RCMP to adopt new screening device for drug-impaired drivers
- News2018.12.03Statistics Canada says sewer water shows Haligonians use most cannabis in all of Canada
- News2018.12.03CounterAttack: Police launch holiday season impaired driving crackdown