By the end of August, the Sunshine Coast RCMP had issued as many as 19 immediate roadside prohibitions lasting 90 days to drivers on area roads.
Drinking and driving penalties returned to full effect June 15 after the B.C. Supreme Court raised concerns about drivers’ rights, forcing the province’s hand to make amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act.
“The RCMP’s impaired driving enforcement occurs year round on a daily basis, in addition to the summer and winter Counter Attack programs, which target impaired drivers,” said detachment spokesperson Cpl. Steven Chubey.
Drivers are given an immediate 90-day suspension should they register a ‘fail’ on a roadside test.
A test that results in a ‘warn’ can lead to a three-day suspension, 30 of which have been handed out on the Coast this year.
In addition to roadside prohibitions, 29 impaired driving charges were handed out this year. A number of criminal code charges were also noted for drivers refusing to provide breath samples.
Some 16 suspensions were also reported, related to drugs.
Seventy-four people were killed last year by impaired driving in British Columbia — a historical low, according to the detachment.
“When you compare that to the increase of enforcement of BC impaired driving of 74 per cent from 2007 to 2011, you can clearly see the impact this increased enforcement is having on saving lives,” Chubey said, adding that 17,000 impaired drivers were removed from the province’s roads last year. “The RCMP respond immediately to 911 calls about impaired motorists, and encourage the public to call 911 to report suspected impaired drivers.”