The “don’t drink and drive” message does not appear to be getting through to drivers in the Alberni Valley, says Port Alberni RCMP Inspector Mac Richards.
During the RCMP’s night shift on Saturday, Dec. 20, five people in four hours had their driving privileges suspended due to alcohol consumption.
“Despite numerous media campaigns and enforcement efforts over the past three decades the perils of driving while impaired still has not resonated with all drivers,” Richards said in a statement released to media.
“The Port Alberni RCMP will continue to do its part to make our roads safe by detecting and removing impaired drivers from our streets.”
Alcohol and drug impairment is the third highest contributing factor to motor vehicle fatalities in B.C., according to the Ministry of Justice.
(Speed and distraction are the top two contributing factors, respectively.)
Of the 269 people killed in the last year, 63 died because someone was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Insurance Corporation of B.C. statistics show 59 per cent of impaired-related crashes happen on the weekend, with 43 per cent taking place between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. On average, 86 people die in B.C. every year due to impaired driving.
“So many crashes could be prevented—they happen because drivers make bad choices, such as speeding, trying to text or talk on a cell while driving, or drinking and driving,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone said in a statement last month.
“If you plan ahead and make safe choices, you can save a life.”
CounterAttack—the RCMP’s campaign to reduce impaired driving—started in 1977 and since then there has been a decrease in the number of impaired driving fatalities, a Coquitlam RCMP spokesperson noted while promoting Five on the Fifth, a national impaired driving enforcement day.
“However, because impaired driving fatalities are 100 per cent preventable, even one fatality is one too many.”