VANCOUVER, Dec. 29 /CNW/ - The 2008 CounterAttack Drinking and Driving
Campaign - a partnership between the provincial government, police and ICBC -
has been out in full force this December with hundreds of roadchecks
throughout British Columbia. However, it is important that drivers remember
that even though many of the holiday festivities may be behind us, the New
Year's Eve celebrations are still to come.
The police officers responsible for CounterAttack's roadchecks hear all
kinds of excuses each year about why people think it's safe for them to drink
and drive. Here are the top ten:1. "I can handle my liquor" - According to police, this one typically
applies to the "macho" variety of men who feel their exaggerated
sense of manliness enables them to overcome the effects of alcohol.
Trouble is, there's no physiological evidence to support that claim -
alcohol is a drug, and if you drink it, your mind and body will
immediately feel the effects. Drink too much, and you will be
impaired - no matter how big, tough or macho you think you are.
2. "I don't want to pay for a taxi" - Depending on the distance
travelled, you could indeed face a significant cost to get home in a
taxi. But compared to the cost of losing your licence, injuring or
killing someone, it's a small amount to pay for a safe ride home.
Other options if your celebrations involve alcohol: share a cab, take
transit, walk or assign a designated driver. Whatever the option you
take, you need to plan ahead. Ask a friend, co-worker or your partner
to stay sober, or make arrangements beforehand to have someone come
get you after the party ends. Alternatively, stay at a hotel or
friend's house where the celebration is taking place.
3. "Leaving my car overnight is a hassle" - Going back to the bar or
party location the next day to retrieve your vehicle can indeed be a
burden but having your car impounded at a police roadcheck is an even
bigger hassle. If you're concerned about leaving your vehicle behind,
call Operation Red Nose - a volunteer-driven service to get you and
your car home safely. Visit www.rednose.bc.ca for more information.
4. "I always make it home after a few" - Each year in British Columbia,
approximately 120 people don't make it home due to alcohol-related
collisions. The drivers who survive those collisions often tell
police afterwards that they had very little to drink and really
didn't think they were impaired, despite the fact their blood-alcohol
levels were well over the legal limit. Impairment begins with the
first drink. And the risk of crashing and killing yourself and others
increases with each alcoholic drink consumed.
5. "It's only a short drive home" - If that's the case, your taxi fare
will be minimal. Remember: CounterAttack roadchecks are often set-up
outside drinking establishments - so no matter how close to home you
may be, you might still encounter a friendly, neighbourhood
6. "I'm OK to drive" - Are you really? Alcohol affects your judgment.
How many people over the course of human history have learned that
the hard way? And how many lives have been lost or permanently
damaged through the bad judgment of drunk drivers? It's simple - if
you drink, don't drive.
7. "One more drink won't hurt" - Wrong. Every drink you consume adds to
your level of impairment. The "just one more" mentality can often
lead to many more, as people get caught up in the spirit of
8. "They only take your licence if you're drunk" - Imagine for a moment
that every person at a sold-out Canucks game has their licence
suspended and their car impounded. Then imagine that same arena
filled to capacity for another game - and once again, every person in
the building has their licence suspended and their car impounded.
That's the approximate number (more than 38,000) of drivers each year
in British Columbia who are caught by police when their ability to
drive is affected by alcohol or drugs. Like the sign says at GM
Place: "If you drink, don't drive."
9. "I'm more careful after a couple" - That's like saying you're more
intelligent after sniffing glue. It makes no sense. Alcohol affects
your reaction time, decision-making, coordination and visual
functions; your ability to steer, track moving objects and brake
appropriately; and your ability to control your speed and lane
position. The more you drink, the worse you drive.
10. "I wasn't drinking/only smoked a joint" - Another urban myth that has
no bearing in reality. Numerous studies have shown that "stoned"
drivers who have taken drugs other than alcohol including cannabis,
cocaine and even prescription drugs can be every bit as dangerous as
drunk drivers. And new legislation now allows police to test drivers
they suspect may be drug-impaired; if convicted, they face the same
penalties as alcohol-impaired drivers.Impaired drivers can face a range of penalties, including immediate
24-hour roadside suspensions and vehicle impoundment, 90-day driving
prohibitions, fines, mandatory rehabilitation, ignition interlock, criminal
charges and jail time. With the introduction of ICBC's Driver Risk Premium,
drivers who have one or more impaired driving convictions and/or two or more
roadside suspensions will pay more for their insurance.
So don't make any excuses this New Year's Eve. Remember that impairment
starts with the first drink, so plan ahead for a safe ride home.
For further information: Media contact: Kathy Taylor, (604) 982-2480