The Kelowna RCMP kicked off their annual Counter Attack campaign, setting up a roadblock on Lakeshore Road Saturday night to remind drivers of the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“We’re going to walk up to the window and you might notice the officer gets a little close to you – it’s because we’re leaning in," explained Const. James Ward of the Kelowna RCMP and BC Highway Patrol.
"First off, we’re looking for any smells, we’re looking for any signs of intoxication through mannerisms, eyes, are they bloodshot? Are you fumbling with the drivers license?”
Const. Ward tells Castanet that historically, holiday celebrations bring out an increase in intoxicated drivers. The Counter Attack campaign had already pulled over at least half a dozen vehicles in its first half hour Saturday.
“Right now, there’s a lot of people driving probably because they are out shopping. So, we’re seeing a lot of accidents in parking lots. We’ve seen a lot of intersection accidents because people become impatient waiting in traffic. And of course, there’s the impaired driving because more people are out drinking.”
According to ICBC, impaired driving kills 64 people in British Columbia each year, and the fines and overall costs of drinking and driving can be very costly.
“If you’re going to have an immediate roadside prohibition, you’re probably going to be facing costs in the thousands of dollars. Just the prohibition is a $500 fine," said Ward.
"But you need to understand that your licence is cancelled, so you have to re-apply for a new driver’s license, plus you’re facing a 30-day vehicle impound, plus towing fees, and then you’re going to get an additional dangerous driver premium, and you may have to get an interlock device in your vehicle which you have to pay a monthly subscription for for a couple of years.”
If you’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol this holiday season, the RCMP wants to remind you that there are safer ways to get home, including walking, calling a taxi, or asking a friend or family member for a ride home.
The RCMP says the Counter Attack Campaign will be out all December long to keep people safe.