British Columbia

Impaired driving still a serious issue in B.C., police say as holiday checkpoints begin

Although 40 years of the impaired driving checkstop program CounterAttack have reduced deaths, impaired driving is still one of the leading causes of fatal crashes in B.C.

Nevertheless the CounterAttack program has reduced number of fatal car crashes related to impaired driving

A Vancouver police officer pulls over a car at a drinking and driving CounterAttack checkpoint on Dec. 1, 2017. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Starting this weekend, police across the province are increasing the number of roadside checkstops for the holiday season and taking time to remind the public that impaired driving continues to be a serious issue.

The roadside checkstops have been a routine feature of the CounterAttack program that B.C. implemented 40 years ago.

At the time, B.C. had the highest number of drinking and driving related deaths in the country. Since then the average number of deaths per year has gone down from over 300 to about 65.

Despite this reduction, ICBC says impaired driving is still one of the top three contributing factors for fatal crashes in B.C.

"CounterAttack, along with tough penalties and education has impacted positively on driver behaviour," said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.

"But the fact remains that people are still dying on B.C. roads because of impaired driving — either drugs or alcohol. One life is too many and the police will be out in force this holiday season to protect everyone using our roadways."

The VPD encourages people to make smart choices — like using designated drivers, transit and taxis — this holiday season, especially when people attend parties and other festivities.

With files from Natasha Frakes and Gian Paolo Mendoza