Police will be out in force starting this weekend and throughout the holiday season, keeping an eye out for people who insist on getting behind the steering wheel despite being impaired.
On average, 14 people are killed and 190 injured in 310 impaired driving related crashes in North Central B.C. every year, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
"Impaired driving by alcohol or drugs is a preventable, dangerous decision that too often results in serious injuries or death. We encourage you to embrace the joy of the season, while making safe and responsible choices," said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.
If your activities involve drinking, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Arrange a designated driver, call a taxi, a friend, or a ride-hailing service, or take transit. If you’ve been drinking at home, stay home and don’t drive.
B.C. has the toughest drinking and driving laws in Canada. If you’re caught driving impaired, you could face these penalties:
- Driving suspensions from 24 hours to 90 days
- Vehicle impoundment
- Fines, from $600 and up to $4,060
- Jail time
- Mandatory rehabilitation
- Installation of ignition interlock in your vehicle
You may also have to pay a driver risk premium, on top of your insurance.
If you crash while driving impaired, you're likely in breach of your insurance policy. That means you could be personally responsible for 100% of the costs if you damage someone else's property or injure them.