Holiday revellers are giving police something to smile about, as officers ramp up their Christmas CounterAttack program to catch impaired drivers.
"It's tough finding someone who wasn't in compliance," said Sgt. Dean Jantzen, referring to roadblocks set up Friday and Saturday nights. "There were lots of great anecdotes where there were so many designated drivers. I saw several parents dressed in their pyjamas that were on their way to pick up loved ones, kids, spouses, even driving friends home."
In the span of the two nighttime roadblocks, police issued four 24-hour driving suspensions for marijuana consumption, three three-day immediate roadside driving suspensions for alcohol, and one 90-day driving suspension for alcohol.
"I do think the message is getting out there … but of course we can always do better," Jantzen said.
Saanich officers will be out conducting roadblocks throughout the holiday season, Jantzen said.
"There are certain times throughout the year where there's an intensity with regard to the number of celebrations that are out there," Jantzen said. "We know there's statistical increases (of alcohol-fuelled gatherings) through certain periods of the year, which is why we increase our focus."
Unlicensed prohibited driver picked up drunk behind the wheel
A Saanich police officer had no problems identifying an impaired driver Friday evening after white Toyota Corolla drove onto a median near Uptown.
The officer was stationed where the Trans-Canada Highway meets Carey Road, around 10:55 p.m. when he spotted a northbound vehicle make an illegal righthand turn onto Carey. The car then drove up onto the median, getting itself temporarily stuck.
"The officer blocked the roadway and the vehicle almost broadsided the patrol car," Jantzen said. "The officer exited the vehicle and yelled at the driver. The vehicle actually began to back up and look as if it might actually flee. Fortunately he did stop."
The officer immediately suspected the driver was impaired. He was arrested and taken back to the police department. Tests found his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.
The driver, a 30-year-old Langford man, was, at the time of his arrest, unlicensed and prohibited from driving.