KELOWNA - Starting this weekend, the Kelowna RCMP will begin one of their annual holiday traditions: Counterattack road side checks.
Throughout the next month and a half, the Kelowna RCMP will be conducting random checks of drivers and their passengers at many Okanagan locations.
The roadside checks will take place during both daylight and evening hours in an attempt to get impaired drivers off the road and to keep motorists safe during the holidays, according to RCMP Cst. Kris Clark.
“The counter-attack road checks are set up because we see an increase in impaired driving over the holiday season,” Clark says.
He says that with all the parties taking place over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s inherent that alcohol consumption will occur.
“People aren’t always prepared with safe rides home, they drink a bit more than they normally would and subsequently, we see them on the road more than we normally would,” Clark says.
The decades-old campaign takes place in July and December and is promoted through advertising and social media throughout the year.
According to a Ministry of Justice website, Driving while affected by alcohol or drugs is a leading cause of death on the roads and every year in B.C., thousands of people operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Federal law states it is a criminal offence to operate a motor vehicle, whether in motion or not, with a blood alcohol content exceeding eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood (0.08 BAC), or impairment by a drug.
If police have reasonable grounds to believe a person is committing, or at any time within the preceding three hours has committed this offence, they may request the person submit a blood and/or breath sample. It is also an offence to fail or refuse to comply with the request without a reasonable excuse.
Provincial law, specifically The Motor Vehicle Act, has authority over and regulates drivers and vehicles on B.C. roads. If an Approved Screening Device indicates a driver, with care or control of a motor vehicle, has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over 0.05 mg/100ml they can be served with an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP).
“Even when I was a little kid I remember (holiday road checks) going on,” Clark says. “They’re kind of an ever-present thing over the holiday season.”
“We’re out there to try to save lives,” he continues. “There will be some during the day and some during the night. Holiday parties happen throughout the week but typically more on the weekend so we’re going to continue to increase our presence to cover as many times as we possibly can. Obviously we want our roads as safe as possible for everyone.”
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at email@example.com, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.
This video public service announcement was made in 2012 as part of an ICBC campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving.