Smithers RCMP ramps up impaired driving enforcement for holiday

Additional officers and roadblocks will be on the streets throughout the holidays

The Smithers RCMP counter attack campaign is in full swing.

Detachment Commander Terry Gillespie said extra officers will be looking for impaired drivers during the month of December.

“We try to get additional people on shift to do road blocks and be really visible with our counter attack campaign and try to get as many impaired drivers off the road [as possible],” he said.

Gillespie said the numbers are always up this time of the year.

“Historically, there are more prosecutions for impaired drivers [in December], I’m not sure that equates to more people drinking and driving or we just catch more people during that period. Certainly, there are quite a few impaired drivers caught during the campaign,” he added.

The Smithers RCMP detachment just had another officer certified as a drug recognition expert to prosecute impaired driving by drugs, bringing the total to three drug recognition experts at the detachment.

The consequences if caught are hefty.

“For impaired driving for your first offence, if you either blow a fail, or refuse to take a breath test, you are most likely to be prosecuted under the BC motor vehicle act, unless it is a collision then you are prosecuted under the criminal code,” Gillespie said.

“If it is under the motor vehicle act it is an immediate road side prohibition, you lose your licence for 90 days, your vehicle is impounded for 90 days and there is a fine as well. If you go criminally, the charges are brought in front of a judge in court and if you are convicted criminally, you can lose your licence for up to a year and receive a fine.”

According to an RCMP press release, on average 68 lives are lost to impaired driving crashes every year in B.C. For this reason, impaired driving enforcement is not only a local priority but a national one also.

The release also asks if you suspect someone is driving while impaired, call 911 immediately. If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road, and when safe to do so, provide the licence plate of the vehicle, direction of travel and vehicle description.

“Don’t drink and drive, we will be out there at all times and we highly encourage people to have a sober designated driver for the evening,” warned Gillespie.

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