Ten drunk drivers were nabbed in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows over the weekend as Ridge Meadows RCMP and police across B.C. launched a Christmas CounterAttack campaign, targeting motorists who drink and get behind the wheel.
On Friday and Saturday, police handed out several penalties, including immediate road-side suspensions as well as 90-day, three-day and 24-hour driving prohibitions.
This year marks the 35th year of the CounterAttack program, which is credited for saving hundreds of lives.
In 1976, the year before CounterAttack road checks started, more than 300 people were killed in impaired driving crashes a year in B.C.
While attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed considerably since then, an average of 113 lives are still lost each year and impaired driving remains the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.
“The CounterAttack program is a remarkable initiative that has helped save countless lives, but we still have work to do,” said Mary Polak, B.C’s minister of transportation and infrastructure.
“The reality is 31 per cent of fatal crashes that occur every year in B.C. involve impaired driving. These are tragedies we can all help to prevent – when you celebrate this holiday season with your family and friends, make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
If your festivities involve alcohol, arrange for a designated driver or use other safe options to get home safely — call a taxi, take transit or call a sober friend.
Another option is Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service in 13 host communities across B.C. that provides safe rides home for drivers and their passengers.
“We don’t want to see another family suffer the tragic loss of a loved one at the hand of an impaired driver. This is why our dedicated officers will be out in full force during the holidays conducting CounterAttack road checks across the province,” said chief constable Jamie Graham, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police traffic safety committee.
Operation Red Nose
To volunteer for Operation Red Nose, call 604-515-NOSE (6673). Application are available at the local RCMP office.
To book a ride call 604-515-6673 or 1-877-604-NOSE. This year the service will be in operation between 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, and 31.
Regional statistics, on average:
• 32 people are killed each year in the Lower Mainland in impaired-related crashes;
• 25 people are killed each year in North Central B.C. in impaired-related crashes;
• 36 people are killed each year in the Southern Interior in impaired-related
• 21 people are killed each year on Vancouver Island in impaired-related crashes.
– annual averages from 2007-2011 police-reported data. Impaired-driving related data includes alcohol, illegal drugs and medicine.