The annual holiday CounterAttack campaign kicks off this weekend with police setting up road blocks throughout Vancouver and across the province.
“We want everyone to enjoy the holidays with family and friends so make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home,” Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s vice-president of public affairs and driver licensing, said in a press release. “Whether you’re attending a holiday get-together or meeting friends to watch a game, if your festivities involve alcohol, please leave your car at home or find an alternate way to get home safe — use a designated driver, call a taxi or use Operation Red Nose.”
More than half of impaired-related crashes (56 per cent) occur between Friday and Sunday and 38 per cent take place between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. Vancouver police, along with officers around B.C., will be setting up road checks throughout December to keep impaired drivers off our roads.
“Starting this weekend and through the entire holiday season there will be an increase of VPD officers conducting the roadblocks around the city,” VPD media relations officer Sgt. Aaron Roed said in an email.
According to ICBC statistics, on average 17 people are killed in the Lower Mainland in crashes involving impaired driving every year.
“CounterAttack remains a vital, strategic enforcement measure,” said Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general. “Most people have got the message that driving after drinking [alcohol] or consuming drugs is dangerous.
“However, there are still those willing to take a chance with the lives of themselves, their passengers and other road users,” he added. “CounterAttack makes intercepting those people job number one.”
B.C. has the toughest drinking and driving laws in Canada. If you’re caught driving impaired, you could face these penalties:
- Driving suspensions from 24 hours to 90 days
- Vehicle impoundment
- Fines, from $600 and up to $4,060
- Jail time
- Mandatory rehabilitation
- Installation of ignition interlock in your vehicle
You may also have to pay a Driver Risk Premium, on top of your insurance.
If you crash while driving impaired, you're likely in breach of your insurance policy. That means you could be personally responsible for 100 per cent of the costs if you damage someone else's property or injure them.