It’s been two weeks since Victoria police started their annual holiday check stop campaign to remove impaired drivers from city roads.
And even though the latest numbers have yet to come on how many impaired drivers have been nabbed thus far, officers on the roads are still seeing far too many drunks behind the wheel.
“From my experience being on the road and in traffic, there’s still quite a few people that are making a decision to consume alcohol and drive,” said Victoria police spokesperson Const. Matt Rutherford.
“There’s still lots of people that have had a few drinks and are just blowing into the fail range, but I can think of two or three examples in the past few months of people that have been grossly intoxicated. It’s sad from a first responders point of view.”
On Dec. 4, police agencies throughout the province embarked on their annual Counterattack blitz, checking more than 24,000 vehicles and nabbing 116 impaired drivers.
During the first weekend of the blitz, the Capital Regional District’s Integrated Road Safety Unit (CRD-IRSU), Victoria police and West Shore RCMP checked 2,300 drivers. Three of those were given immediate 90-day roadside prohibitions for driving while impaired. Another 25 appeared to have been drinking, but passed tests on the roadside screening devices.
According to police, drinking and driving continues to be the number one cause of death related to motor vehicles. Fortunately, Rutherford said the public and businesses are helpful with reporting impaired drivers.
“Liquor stores, pubs, fast food restaurants…they are very supportive and they usually phone the police and give us the means to apprehend the driver,” said Rutherford, stressing the importance of planning ahead when going out for a night on the town.
“It’s such a preventable thing, impaired driving. We harp on this year after year and it’s something that needs to change in our society.”
Police will be conducting check stops throughout the holiday season and into the new year. Since the beginning of the year, the CRD-IRSU has issued 90-day immediate roadside prohibitions to 160 drivers for operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol. Of those, 28 were apprehended between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on various days of the week.