SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Despite repeated warnings from the police and annual campaigns, it looks like not everyone decided to take the safer option home after wrapping up long weekend festivities.
During an overnight, early morning blitz, Mounties in Surrey pulled over about 1,000 cars and were forced to take some drivers off the road because they were impaired.
“By the time we finished up our tally, we had seven full-fledged impaired [drivers] or immediate roadside prohibitions, three that were three-day immediate roadside prohibitions, one 24-hour and two 12-hour ones,” explains Corporal Jose Oliveira.
He adds two cars were impounded and there 21 violation tickets for other offences.
Oliveira says it’s surprising that people still think it’s acceptable to get behind the wheel after they’ve had too much to drink. “It’s surprising with some people that they don’t realize how impaired they really are and they choose to get behind the wheel and actually drive.”
He explains most of the drivers who got in trouble overnight were in their late teens or early 20s. “That’s pretty close to what we’ve seen in the past. Young drivers represent, aged 16 to 25, they represent about 13 per cent of the all drivers in BC, yet they account for probably about 28 per cent of all impaired drivers and crashes. It’s not surprising that most of the people we stopped were in and around that age.”
Oliveira says one of the people they took off the road had their ‘N.’
Through several educational campaigns about drinking and driving, people have been reminded about planning ahead or finding another way, but police say that message isn’t sinking in. “A lot of people don’t even realize that they’re drunk. In their mind, they think they’re fine to drive and unfortunately, other people around them don’t stop them from driving or can’t stop them from driving. A lot of them don’t have very good excuses. ‘I wasn’t drinking’ is usually the excuse.”
He says you can avoid getting into trouble if you just leave your car and hop on transit. “If people plan to drink then they should leave their car at home or find a safe way to get home. There are options from transit or taxis to friends to staying overnight if you’re going somewhere.”
The summer Counterattack campaign is done in conjunction with ICBC which says an average of 44 people are killed in impaired-related crashes during the summer months every year. On Canada Day alone, an average of two people are killed, according to its most recent data.