Sobering statistics, as police mark National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day

Impaired driving crackdown

Cindy White

Checkstops were rolled out across B.C. Saturday, as RCMP and BC Highway Patrol units from Vancouver Island to Fort St. John to Cranbrook and Terrace marked National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day.

A month-long provincial CounterAttack holiday checkstops campaign also runs until the end of the month.

Police were stopping vehicles on Highway 97 in Lake Country Saturday evening, looking for drivers who shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

“What we’re looking for is people who’ve been drinking and driving. However, we're also look for drug-impaired driving,” said Sgt. Bruce Petersen of the BC Highway Patrol.

He explained that in the case of drugs, you may end up being pulled over, asked to do some field sobriety tests, and if you don’t pass those field sobriety tests, then a drug recognition expert might be called in to do more tests.

“So, the fact is, drugs is not just illegal drugs, but it’s also your prescription drugs. Maybe you have a painkiller. Our object is to get you to realize that if you are under the influence of anything, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, please don’t get behind the wheel and drive. Let’s make it safe for everybody this Christmas season.”

And don’t think you can avoid checkstops by sticking to a busy highway or cutting through side streets. You’ll find checkstops anywhere within the Thompson-Okanagan, day or night.

“So as an example, in this region, it’s a high accident crash zone as well as a good impaired location. We will set up on Highway 97. We will set up within the community,” Sgt. Petersen said.

Every year in B.C., an average of 65 people are killed in collisions where alcohol, drugs or medication is involved.

“There are almost as many people killed in impaired-related crashes as there are in murders,” said Sgt. Petersen.

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