Province, ICBC and police warn against drinking and driving

    CounterAttack roadchecks on now

    VANCOUVER, June 29 /CNW/ - As the summer BBQ season and Canada Day
celebrations kick off, the Province, ICBC and police are reminding motorists
that drinking and driving can be a deadly combination. The month-long,
province-wide campaign includes enhanced CounterAttack roadchecks, advertising
and partnerships with sports facilities, municipalities and businesses.
    On Canada Day alone, there are approximately 20 alcohol-related crashes
in B.C. resulting in 20 injuries and one death.(*)
    "I've seen the tremendous damage and pain caused by drinking and
driving," said Solicitor General Kash Heed. "I particularly want young people
to know that they are risking their own lives and the lives of their friends
if they make the wrong choice and get behind the wheel when they've been
    In an average year in B.C., 5,100 alcohol-related collisions cause 3,180
injuries and 116 deaths. Young men continue to be vastly over-represented in
alcohol-related crashes, accounting for 81 per cent of all impaired drivers.
Thirty-five per cent of all impaired drivers in alcohol-related collisions are
between the ages of 16 and 25.(xx)
    "We have a tough challenge because many people, and particularly young
men, aren't being honest with themselves about their drinking and driving,"
cautioned Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC's road safety director. "The reality is it
doesn't take much to impair your judgment, hand-eye coordination and reaction
time. So if you're drinking at a summer BBQ or at a party, it's easy to make
smart choices: leave your car at home, carpool and designate a driver in
advance, call a cab, take transit or ask a sober friend to drive you home."
    During July, police across the province will be out in full force
checking for drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs. Impaired drivers stopped at
roadchecks or elsewhere face a range of penalties from 24-hour prohibitions
and vehicle impoundments, 90-day administrative driving prohibitions to
criminal charges, fines and jail time. In addition, drivers who have one or
more driving-related criminal convictions or two or more roadside suspensions
on or after January 1, 2008, will pay ICBC a Driver Risk Premium, separate
from insurance premiums.
    On top of fines, all convicted drinking drivers who receive multiple
driving prohibitions are required to have an ignition interlock device
installed in their vehicles, which prevents them from starting or continuing
to drive if they've been drinking. Program evaluations have found up to a 90
per cent reduction in repeat drinking and driving when the device is
    "While we're out to enforce the law, we're also hoping to educate
drivers. One of the hardest parts of our job is knocking on a door to deliver
tragic news to a victim's family," added Superintendent Norm Gaumont, RCMP "E"
division traffic services. "Crashes involving alcohol and drugs are completely
preventable, and the impact on families and communities is profound."

    Drivers are reminded of these tips:

    -   Make the smart choice: choose a designated driver before going out,
        keep money aside for a bus or taxi, or call a friend.

    -   Refuse to ride with drivers who may be impaired. Ask to be let out of
        the car if necessary.

    -   Take a stand and don't let people drive if they are or have been
        drinking alcohol.

    -   If you see an impaired driver, report it to your local police
        detachment - call 911.

    -   Talk about the issue often with your family and friends.

    -   Learn about the effects of alcohol. It affects your judgment,
        reaction time, coordination, your ability to steer, track moving
        objects, brake and control your speed and lane position.

    -   No amount of coffee, cold showers or fresh air will make you sober.
        The only cure is time. It takes about six hours for your body to
        eliminate all the alcohol from a blood/alcohol reading of .08 (the
        legal limit).

    Visit for more information and tips.

    (*)  Annual averages from 2004-2008 ICBC and police-reported data.
    (xx) Annual averages from 2003-2007 police-reported data.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Kim Thé, (604) 842-5023

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