Thursday, the B.C. government, police and ICBC marked the 35th anniversary of the CounterAttack program with the launch of the December impaired driving campaign.
In 1976, the year before CounterAttack roadchecks started, more than 300 people were killed in impaired related crashes every year in our province. While attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed considerably since then, an average of 113 lives are still lost each year and impaired driving remains the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.
On average, 25 people are killed each year in North Central B.C. in impaired-related crashes.
“The CounterAttack program is a remarkable initiative that has helped save countless lives, but we still have work to do,” said Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The reality is 31 per cent of fatal crashes that occur every year in B.C. involve impaired driving. These are tragedies we can all help to prevent – when you celebrate this holiday season with your family and friends, make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
“Recent, promising research shows most B.C. drivers are taking our impaired driving law seriously, and that it has helped to save more than 100 lives in the last two years,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “But some drivers remain undeterred – so strategic enforcement efforts, including seasonal CounterAttack campaigns, remain critical to further our goals of reducing fatalities and creating safer roads and communities.”
If your festivities involve alcohol, arrange for a designated driver or use other safe options to get home safely — call a taxi, take transit or call a sober friend. Another option is Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service in 13 host communities across B.C. that provides safe rides home for drivers and their passengers.
“We don’t want to see another family suffer the tragic loss of a loved one at the hand of an impaired driver. This is why our dedicated officers will be out in full force during the holidays conducting CounterAttack roadchecks across the province,” said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Victoria Police and Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “If you choose to drive impaired, you will be caught and you will face severe consequences.”
“We want everyone to enjoy the holidays with their family and friends, so make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. “Share the responsibility of being the designated driver this holiday season. If it’s your turn, be true to your commitment – your friends and family are counting on it.”
ICBC supports CounterAttack through an education campaign and enhanced police enforcement and also provides CounterAttack materials to businesses, sports facilities and community groups to help prevent impaired driving.
For holiday season driving tips and more on the CounterAttack campaign, visit icbc.com.