Almost seven out of 10 impaired drivers who caused crashes in British Columbia are male, according to ICBC. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Almost seven out of 10 impaired drivers who caused crashes in British Columbia are male, according to ICBC. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

CounterAttack campaign kicks off in Cariboo

The province-wide CounterAttack campaign has officially launched for the month of December

’Tis the season for many in the South Cariboo to take part in holiday festivities, but local law enforcement officers are reminding residents to do so responsibly.

The province-wide CounterAttack campaign has officially launched for the month of December, and that means that local RCMP will be out patrolling for potential impaired drivers in the coming days and weeks.

“There is particular attention always towards the CounterAttack campaign at Christmas time,” 100 Mile RCMP Staff Sgt. Svend Nielsen said. “So we will definitely have a concentrated effort around the community, but I can’t disclose exactly what that is.”

Impaired driving investigations are continually something local officers have a “significant focus” on, according to Nielsen, who said that statistics relating to impaired cases have gone up on a year-to-year basis since he started 100 Mile House in 2017.

“Last year, we had a total of 83 impaired driving files, which may seem like an insignificant number, but these are handled by general duty members who a lot of the time are self-generating those (files),” he said.

A self-generated impaired driving stop, Nielsen explained, occurs when an officer comes across a vehicle driven by someone they suspect might be impaired and proceeds with the investigation, rather than in response to a call into the detachment.

According to provincial legislation, a driver with a blood-alcohol level that is equal to or greater than 0.05 on an approved screening device can be served with a driving prohibition by police.

The severity of the penalty depends on the blood-alcohol reading as well if it’s a driver’s first, second or third offence; a first-time offence (within a five-year period) can result in a three-day driving suspension, $200 penalty and the cost of towing and impound fees. A third-time offence, however, can result in a 30-day suspension, a $400 penalty and additional towing and storage costs.

Most importantly, according to Nielsen, the CounterAttack campaign is about keeping South Cariboo residents safe over the holidays and year-round. And the best way to do that, he said, is to plan ahead.

“It always falls back to the notion that you need to self-prepare,” he said. “Put yourself in a position where you have a friend or family member available – or maybe a teenager who can drive – and have that approach in place so you can enjoy yourselves and be able to get home safe.”

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