Surrey, White Rock RCMP hit the streets for roadside checks

‘Counter-attack’ in support of ICBC’s provincial impaired driving campaign

The Surrey RCMP’s Traffic Section will again be on the roads this weekend conducting roadside checks at several locations.

Officers from Surrey, White Rock and Deas Island will be conducting roadside checks at several locations “specifically targeting impaired drivers who are putting themselves and others on the road at risk,” according to a news release from Surrey RCMP. The checks, reads the release, support ICBC’s provincial impaired driving campaign.

“Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs remains a leading cause of motor vehicle fatalities in B.C. with an average of 68 people dying in crashes every year,” said Surrey RCMP Sergeant Chad Greig in a news release. “B.C. has some of the toughest impaired driving laws and if you are caught driving while impaired you could face penalties ranging from driving suspensions and vehicle impoundments to serious fines and criminal charges.”

Local ICBC road safety co-ordinator Karen Klein said if people’s holiday festivities involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home.

“Arrange a designated driver, call a taxi or take transit – there are so many options to get home safe,” Klein said.

A BC RCMP Traffic Services release said the month-long counter-attack campaign started Dec. 1.

“Police will be using every resource at their disposal to get impaired drivers off the road including the use of Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and specially trained Drug Recognition Experts. Police are also fully prepared to enforce the recently introduced cannabis legislation,” reads the BC RCMP release.

According to provincial statistics, reads the release, “65 people die each year (on average) in collisions where alcohol, drugs or medication is involved (5 year average from 2012 to 2016), making impaired driving fatalities one of the leading causes of death on our provincial roadways.”

Bill C-46 was passed by the federal government in June, 2018 to coincide with the legalization of cannabis earlier this year, according to a frequently asked questions page on drug-impaired driving laws.

SEE ALSO: Health Canada releases draft regulations for edible cannabis products

It includes three main elements that address drug-impaired driving:

• It creates new criminal offences of being at or over a prohibited blood drug concentration for certain impairing drugs, including THC and cocaine within two hours of driving (the levels are set by regulation)

• It authorizes the police to use approved drug screening equipment (e.g., oral fluid drug screeners) to detect the presence of some impairing drugs in drivers such as THC and cocaine

• It strengthens the existing legal framework to enhance the investigation and prosecution of the current offence of driving while impaired by a drug

If anyone witnesses a suspected impaired driver, pull over when safe to do so and call police immediately, reads the release. Try and provide as much information about the vehicle, driver, and vehicle direction of travel and what activity was observed.

For more information on road safety and impaired driving, please visit ICBC’s website and the Surrey RCMP website.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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