It will be a sobering New Year for a number of individuals in Smithers caught driving impaired by the RCMP’s annual holiday CounterAttack program held throughout December.
Staff Sgt. Terry Gillespie with the Smithers detachment said the annual roadblock program was successful in removing 14 drivers from the road over the month.
Gillespie added all 14 of those cases were related to alcohol and that impaired driving remains one of the top causes of criminal death in the province.
“Our overall message is if you’re planning on drinking or smoking, please do not drive. Find an alternative way home such as transit, cabs or a designated driver — anything like that just so you can get home safely.”
There were zero cannabis-related incidents, with all impairment cases relating to alcohol.
Surveys taken six months after legalization indicate most police forces across the country have not seen a significant increase in the amount of impaired charges laid under the relatively-new Cannabis Act.
In B.C., there had been no cases of a driver being charged criminally with cannabis impairment at the end of July 2019, over three-quarters of a year after cannabis was legalized federally.
Recently the Smithers RCMP detachment had a third officer certified as a drug recognition expert, bringing the total number for the detachment to three.
Police traditionally run CounterAttack during the holiday and summer months, however Gillespie warned any would-be impaired drivers they could see those familiar red and blues whenever they get behind the wheel.
“We do enforcement year-round so just because it’s not December doesn’t mean we won’t be out there looking for impaired drivers.”