British Columbia

Holiday road checks for impaired driving start Saturday across B.C.

It's that time of year again: office holiday parties, eggnog lattes and yes, roadside impaired driving checks.
Expect to see more police in the next month as officers check for impaired drivers. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

It's that time of year again: office holiday parties, eggnog lattes and yes, roadside impaired driving checks. 

Beginning Saturday, Dec. 1, police across British Columbia kick off the CounterAttack Impaired Driving Month

The campaign means drivers across the province can expect to see a heightened police presence and officers pulling over cars suspected of impaired driving. 

According to ICBC, impaired driving that involves alcohol, drugs or medication is still one of the leading causes of fatal car crashes in B.C., with about 68 lives lost on average each year — approximately 24 per cent of all crash fatalities. 

ICBC statistics show that impaired driving accounts for 24 per cent of all fatal car crashes in B.C. (ICBC)

With recreational marijuana now legal across Canada, police say they are also prepared to check for people driving while they're high. 

Like most of Canada, British Columbia doesn't have devices to test for marijuana consumption. But officers can use the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and specially trained drug recognition experts instead. 

Police and ICBC strongly encourage anyone planning to drink or use drugs to have a designated driver or find alternate ways home like taxis and public transit. 

Drivers who still want to return home with their vehicle can call Operation Red Nose, which offers people a ride home while another volunteer follows behind in their car.

The campaign lasts until Jan. 1.