Drinking Driving CounterAttack roadchecks on now

    Motorists stopped from Whistler to Boston Bar in an effort to get
    drinking drivers off the road

    VANCOUVER, Dec. 1 /CNW/ - This year's holiday season Drinking Driving
CounterAttack campaign kicked off on December 1. More than 125 RCMP and
municipal police officers, as well as members of the Integrated Road Safety
Units, set up roadchecks along Highway 1 from Whistler to Boston Bar.
    Air1, B.C.'s traffic safety helicopter, provided aerial support, while
ICBC representatives attended the roadchecks to raise awareness about
Operation Red Nose and other ways to get home safe this holiday season. The
blitz was a part of the month-long provincial campaign dedicated to getting
drinking drivers off B.C. roads.
    "Drinking and driving is a serious offence with potentially deadly
consequences," said Solicitor General John Les, who participated in this
holiday seasons' first CounterAttack roadcheck. "We've brought in stronger
impaired driving legislation with a focus on increased enforcement, higher
penalties and mandatory rehabilitation to deal with drunk drivers but the best
way to save lives is to not drive drunk in the first place."
    Drunk drivers stopped at the roadchecks or elsewhere face a range of
penalties, including immediate 24-hour roadside suspensions and vehicle
impoundment, 90-day driving prohibitions, criminal charges, fines, jail time,
mandatory rehabilitation, and ignition interlock. ICBC's Driver Risk Premium
also comes into effect January 2008, and will result in high-risk drivers
paying hundreds, and in some cases thousands of dollars more each year.
    CounterAttack is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Nicolas
Jimenez, ICBC's director of Road Safety, credits the success of the program to
a combination of enforcement and public awareness. "We've seen significant
reductions in drinking and driving over the years, thanks in part to
CounterAttack. And now, new enforcement strategies and tools for police are
producing even stronger results. But drinking and driving remains a serious
concern as too many people are injured or killed in alcohol-related crashes
each year," said Jimenez.
    Prior to the launch of CounterAttack in 1977, B.C. had the highest number
of alcohol-related traffic crashes in the country. Drunk drivers caused more
than 300 deaths on B.C. roads in 1976. Thirty years later, B.C.'s population
has increased by about 60 per cent, but the number of alcohol-related deaths
on B.C. roads has declined by more than half. Drinking and driving remains a
serious problem in B.C., with 127 lives lost and approximately 3,400 people
injured in alcohol-related crashes in 2005. Approximately 28 per cent of all
motor vehicle fatalities in 2005 were related to drinking and driving.

    ICBC invests in road safety to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities,
which also help to keep insurance rates low and stable. ICBC also supports
police by providing approximately $17 million towards enhanced enforcement,
including CounterAttack roadchecks. This year's CounterAttack campaign also
includes ICBC-funded radio, restaurant, bar and transit advertising, as well
as ICBC-developed television and radio public service announcements carried by
the B.C. Association of Broadcasters.

For further information:

For further information: Kate Best, (604) 816-7983

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