Police keep focus on impaired drivers

Police setting up CounterAttack roadchecks to combat summer carnage on Greater Victoria roads

It’s a sight that might not normally be associated with this time of year. But the flashing lights that signal CounterAttack road checks will be popping up on Saanich roads as well as streets and highways throughout Greater Victoria over the summer.

CounterAttack campaigns have become a visible reminder on the hazards of impaired driving, becoming a frequent sight on B.C. roads during the Christmas season. But unfortunately, impaired driving is not just a problem confined to winter months.

Statistics tell us that 78 people die every year in B.C. as a result of impaired driving. And no community or calendar month is immune to the carnage. Nearly half of those deaths (46 per cent) occur during summer months, while Vancouver Island sees an average of 11 deaths every year attributed to impaired driving.

Saanich Police has joined with Victoria Police, the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit and ICBC to conduct road checks throughout Greater Victoria in an effort to make our roads safer. Police receive regular complaints of impaired drivers from people unwilling to have their lives and those of their families jeopardized.

“We respond daily to reports of possible impaired drivers, and those calls come from the public. They’re sick of the carnage that results from impaired drivers, and the adage is always how ironic it’s never the impaired driver going to the morgue or the hospital,” said Sgt. John Price, Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit supervisor.

While impaired drivers can be found in any community and at any time of year, statistics indicate most impaired-related crashes (59 per cent) take place on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, with almost half (42 per cent) occurring between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. Males account for 71 per cent of all impaired drivers, while those under 25 represent the largest segment (29 per cent) of impaired drivers involved in crashes.

Summer is a great time for gathering at the beach or on the patio with friends to enjoy some ice cold refreshments. But while we’re enjoying ourselves, let’s also do our part to make sure we don’t become part of those statistics.