Roadside checks nab Greater Trail drivers

CounterAttack catches five drivers in the Trail area

The West Kootenay Traffic Services set up over 30 roadblocks in the month of December to nab drivers who continue to get behind the wheel after a few drinks.

This year, the roadside officers apprehended and issued DUI charges to 12 drivers, nine impaired by alcohol, and three impaired by drugs, according to Corporal John Ferguson, from the West Kootenay Traffic Services.

Three of the alcohol related and two of the drug related impaired charges were made in the Trail area.

Ferguson said that there were 13 roadside prohibitions issued as 24-hour or three-day immediate roadside suspensions.

“There really isn’t one day that brings in the most impaired drivers,” he said.

“It’s 24/7 with many calls related to kids who stay up until 4 a.m. drinking.

“They will go home and sleep a few hours then get up for work,” he explained. “Then, they get behind the wheel with too much alcohol still in their system.”

Young drivers continue to engage in talking or texting on a cell phone while behind the wheel, and 10 were charged with distracted driving last month.

“People still seem to like to talk on the phone,” said Ferguson.

Young drivers who are inexperienced and talking while driving is a real problem,” he said.

“It can be hard to prove in court, because drivers typically don’t admit to the offense as cause of an accident.”

By far, the most tickets were issued to drivers who neglected to buckle up.

At a cost of $167 per ticket, 60 drivers found that failure to wear a seatbelt proved to be an expensive night on the town

“It is hard to detect someone not wearing a seatbelt on the highway,” said Ferguson.

“But people continue to forget to buckle up when driving around town.”

Reports from Mounties across B.C. say fewer drunk drivers were caught in road blocks this holiday season compared to previous years.

Preliminary numbers from policed areas show 961 people were charged with impaired driving and other offences during the CounterAttack program from Dec. 2 to Jan. 2nd, compared to 1,434 in the same period last year, stated the RCMP traffic services press release.

Almost 350 drivers were given 90-day driving suspensions, another 272 got three-day driving bans and 135 were given drug-related 24-hour suspensions.

Although they found fewer impaired drivers, RCMP officers handed out about 3,000 other tickets during the CounterAttack program, including 1,419 drivers who were using an electronic device.

Another 213 were caught speeding and 1,364 tickets were written for seatbelt violations.

A 24-hour suspension can be issued if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the legal limit after blowing into an alcohol-screening device but the police officer suspects impairment.

A three-day suspension is issued if it is the first time the driver is caught within the warning range of 0.05 BAC.