Trail has quiet start to 2012

Trail RCMP say reinstated drinking and driving laws reduced impaired traffic

It was a sobering segue into 2012 as the reinstated drunk driving laws kept the cork in the revelry in Trail on New Year’s Eve.

RCMP reported only one drunk driver uncovered in their rounds of rotating stop checks around the city, with only an “average” call volume for a night that historically is one of the busiest of the year.

Not only did people behave, said Trail RCMP Cpl. Dave Johnson, but police officers noticed large numbers of people utilizing bus service for their evening transportation.

“(Officers) noted that buses running late like that really did help,” he said. “The buses were full … and the bus stops had a lot of people around them.”

Just days before the holiday season really became ingrained, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jon Sigurdson issued a ruling that suspended implementation of his decision to overturn immediate 90-day suspensions for impaired drivers caught with a blood-alcohol level over .08.

For roadside readings of .08 per cent or higher, police had previously been imposing a 90-day driving ban, a $500 fine and impounding the vehicle for 30 days.

That suspension could cost a driver $3,750, including $700 for towing and storage and $1,420 to take a mandatory “responsible driver” course. Those penalties were in effect for New Year’s Eve and will stay until June 30.

However, to comply with the court rulings, the province must ensure those drivers get a chance to challenge the decision.

Not only was re-institution of the tougher drinking and driving regulations a deterrent, but Cpl. Johnson felt media attention on the cost — both personal and financial — of drinking and driving was a factor.

“That has just brought it to (attention) so a lot of people are now just planning for a safe ride home, which is the best case scenario,” he said. “Ultimately, that speaks to the community’s responsibility and the responsibility the community has taken for their own safety, and it ensures everyone else’s safety as well.”

Police changed places for their road checks throughout the night and targeted all areas of the city and the surrounding communities. The majority of police time was occupied by investigating noise complaints or people wandering through downtown causing a disturbance.

Bus disturbance in Salmo

School was out for several unknown suspects as they broke into a locked school bus at the Salmo High School on New Year’s Eve.

Vandals broke a window and fan in the bus, throwing garbage around the interior.

“Entry appears to have been gained from the roof of the bus,” said Salmo RCMP Cpl. Riordan Bellman.

Police are continuing their investigation with evidence left at the scene.

If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact Salmo RCMP at 250-357-2212 or Crimestoppers.

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