“Have you had anything to drink?”
Expect to hear these words many times this month when the Trail and Greater District RCMP join police forces across British Columbia as they ramp up impaired driving enforcement.
The Winter CounterAttack campaign launched on Dec. 1, which means Greater Trail police officers will be setting up additional check points and sending out roving patrols over the next several weeks.
As well, Dec. 7 marks a one-day provincial blitz called National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day, when motorists can expect to see a heightened police presence in most areas of the province.
Always mindful not only in December, but throughout the year, the local detachment has a timely message for anyone getting behind the wheel.
“We would like the public to plan for a sober ride home ahead of time and be prepared to park their vehicle overnight if they drink more than planned,” cautions Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.
“If you are hosting an event with alcohol or marijuana use, please consider having a designated driver to take your guests home safely at the end of your event.”
If a designated driver is not in the plan, he reminds revellers that there are options in the Trail area, including two taxi services and public buses.
Furthermore, police remind the public that if they suspect someone is driving while impaired, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For those behind the wheel, the RCMP advise the driver to pull over to the side of the road, and when safe to do so, provide the license plate of the vehicle, direction of travel, and vehicle description.
“The RCMP will be focusing on removing drivers impaired by alcohol and drugs from our streets in an effort to prevent motor vehicle incidents than can result in serious injuries or fatalities,” Wicentowich advised.
“The RCMP have a wide range of provincial and Criminal Code impaired driving laws to utilize in their efforts.”
For starters, officers will be equipped with Approved Roadside Screening Devices to test for blood-alcohol content (BAC). The sergeant notes that provincial penalties and licence suspensions can start with a BAC as low as 0.05.
If the driver’s breath sample reads as “FAIL,” or if the driver refuses to provide a breath sample, police can immediately seize the person’s licence for 90 days, and impound the vehicle a mandatory 30 days.