Vancouver and Delta summer CounterAttack campaigns against impaired driving reveal ongoing issues

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      Both Vancouver and Delta police have released the results of summertime campaigns to tackle impaired driving conducted over the past month—and the numbers continue to be concerning.

      The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) conducted its summer CounterAttack campaign from late June to early this month. During that time, 360 impaired drivers—100 more than in 2018—were taken off local roads.

      The VPD stated in a news release that the increased number may in part be due to the more officers being involved at this year’s roadblocks than the previous year.

      By phone, VPD spokeperson Sgt. Jason Robillard explained he couldn't provide specific numbers of officers or dates although the campaign last year was also conducted during the summer.

      Of the 360 drivers removed from roads, 116 of them received roadside suspensions while 244 others received immediate roadside prohibitions. Sgt. Robillard told the Georgia Straight that 25 individuals received a 24-hour suspension for drug usage.

      The VPD is also recommending 12 impaired driving charges to be approved by Crown counsel.

      “Some people just aren’t getting the message that impaired driving just isn’t worth it,” Sgt. Robillard had stated in a news release. "If you drive stoned or drunk, you are putting yourself and others at risk, and the chance of getting caught is very likely.”

      Delta Police Department

      Last month, when the Delta Police Department (DPD) and ICBC conducted CounterAttack on July 5 and 6, they introduced a new element. In addition to the traditional roadblocks, Delta police also conducted roving patrols in marked and unmarked vehicles.

      Out of 111 drivers who had to take breathalyzer tests, nine of them (or eight percent) were impaired by drugs or alcohol, the DPD stated on July 8. Officers also conducted three sobriety tests when drivers were suspected of having consumed drugs. In addition to general duty officers, a total 14 impaired drivers were removed from Delta roads between July 5 and 7.

      One driver who was stopped in North Delta on July 6 failed his test on the first try, then attempted to run away from the officer across a parking lot before he fell into some bushes where police stopped him.

      Several individuals also falsely claimed to not to have consumed alcohol.

      “We also stopped a surprising number of self-proclaimed designated drivers, who told us they had nothing to drink that night, yet provided a breath sample that showed they definitely had some alcohol in their system,” Acting Sgt. Jim Ingram stated in a news release. “Although those drivers conceded that they weren’t being honest with us, they did not face any consequences, as their ability to drive wasn’t affected or impaired.”

      Previously, the DPD announced on July 1 that they dealt with nine impaired drivers over the Canada Day long weekend, including one driver who jumped the curb after making a sloppy turn and another driver who was passed out in a vehicle on a rural road.

      On August 1, the DPD stated on social media that over the past week, 15 impaired drivers received immediate roadside prohibitions, ranging from three- to 90-day periods.

      Delta Police Department

      Following that, Delta police pulled a commercial vehicle driver off the road for being impaired from the night before.

      When Delta police conducted early-morning traffic enforcement on Highway 17 on August 3, officers observed a speeding SUV. A large commercial truck behind it was traveling even faster at 130 kilometres per hour. When an officer attempted to pull over the two vehicles, the SUV slowed down but the speeding dump truck, which didn’t slow down, struck the SUV’s bumper. The SUV driver was uninjured but received a speeding ticket.

      However, the dump truck driver, who admitted to drinking the night before, failed a breathalyzer test. The truck driver received a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition, his vehicle was impounded for 30 days, and he also received a speeding ticket, a separate seven-day impound for excessive speeding, and fines and penalties.

      The DPD stated that 68 people die every year in collisions involving impaired driving, with 56 of these crashes taking place on weekends.

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