SURREY — The Surrey RCMP will be catching impaired drivers this New Years weekend.
But designated drivers passing through local CounterAttack roadblocks will be handed free coffee coupons, Corporal Scotty Schumann said.
“Impaired driving crashes are preventable incidents, yet impaired driving remains in the top three of contributing factors for fatal crashes in B.C.,” he noted. “When celebrating with alcohol this year help us reverse these statistics by making good choices.”
According to police, 40 per cent of all impaired driving-related crashes happen between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. and in 70 per cent of impaired driving crashes men are behind the wheel.
Karen Klein, an ICBC road safety coordinator, reminds people who are planning to imbibe to arrange for a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose. “There are many options to get home safely,” she said.
Markita Kaulius lost her 22-year-old daughter Kassandra Kaulius to a drunk driver in Surrey in 2011. Natasha Leigh Warren, 35, of North Delta pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, failing to remain at the scene of a crash and driving with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit causing death. She ran a red light, slammed her company van into Kassandra’s BMW at 103 kilometres an hour, and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
The grieving mother, meantime, set up a victims’ rights organization called Families for Justice Society, of which she is president. Representatives of that organization will be out at CounterAttack roadblocks tonight to lend police their support.
Kaulius noted that statistics on average reveal that between four and six people are killed in Canada by drunk drivers every day, which annually means between 1,250 and 1,500 people are killed at more than 50,000 are injured.
Between Sept. 20, 2010 and Oct. 31, 2016 police in B.C. have ordered 167,033 immediate roadside prohibitions, administrative driving prohibitions and 24-hour driving prohibitions.
“Impaired driving is the number-one criminal cause of death in Canada,” Kaulius said. “Every year, impaired drivers leave a terrible trail of death, injury, heartbreak and destruction.”