The Candy Cane Campaign, an awareness raising drive promoting road safety, kicked-off the Holiday season last Friday with local RCMP, ICBC and volunteer Firefighters reminding motorists to remain sober behind the wheel.
It’s the 35th year of the ICBC CounterAttack program and the RCMP will be conducting several checkpoints over the holiday season to ensure motorists are taking the necessary precautions to avoid driving while impaired.
“This is just to give motorists a head’s up that the RCMP will be handing out fines and impounding vehicles of any impaired drivers over the Holidays,” Smithers RCMP Constable Keenan Moore said.
On average, 25 people are killed each year, where alcohol is involved in a motor vehicle incident (MVI) in northern British Columbia.
Between 2007 and 2011 an average of 113 people died in incidences involving impaired driving.
Impaired driving is defined as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescriptions that inhibit motor skills and awareness, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
On average, more than 30 per cent of motor vehicle fatalities are related to impaired driving in B.C.
In 1979, the year before the CounterAttack program began, more than 300 people in B.C. were killed in crashes involving impaired driving.
Drivers are reminded of the strict penalties that will be enforced by Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) if caught blowing over 0.05 to 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content into a Breathalyzer in accordance with the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act.
Refusing or failing, blowing over 0.08 BAC, a breath test will see an immediate 90-day driving prohibition, a 30-day impound of your vehicle and a $500 penalty.
Failing or refusing will also require having a $1730 ignition interlock installed in your vehicle, which is a breath test that must be conducted before the vehicle will start and every 10 minutes while driving.
Plus a responsible driver program ($880) will need to be taken before driving again.
For a first offence, blowing between 0.05 and 0.08 BAC, a three-day vehicle impound and driving prohibition, including a $200 penalty and a $250 licence reinstatement fee.
ICBC recommends calling a taxi, using a shuttle bus or having a prearranged designated driver if your festivities include the consumption of alcohol.