Impaired driving cases remain steady

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP dealt with nearly one impaired driving-related offence per day in 2012

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP dealt with nearly one impaired driving-related offence per day in 2012.

Statistics show there were 300 total offences in 2012 – 191 Criminal Code impaired driving charges, and 101 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRPs) issued.

The overall numbers are down from 2011, when there were 348 offences, but 2012’s stats show 18 more impaired drivers than 2011’s 173. However, there were more 90-day IRPs issued in 2011; 175 compared to 109 last year.

In 2010, there were 352 impaired driving related offences: 280 impaired drivers and 52 90-day IRPs.

“There could be a number of factors for the numbers in 2012,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

“Some of the numbers could have come during the time period when the IRPs were suspended by a provincial court ruling, and while changes were being made to the rule so officers may not have issued that many.

“It could also be that people are being more cautious out there.”

There are four factors that will result in a person being charged with impaired driving under the Criminal Code of Canada – if you’ve been drinking and are involved in an accident; if you’ve had a prior impaired driving charge; if you’ve previously been issued a 90-day IRP; or if you’ve been issued three, three-day IRPs.

If you’ve never been charged before, that’s when police will issue an IRP. You won’t get a criminal record, but it will likely cost you close to $5,000 to get your car back on the road.

The vehicle gets impounded and all drivers are required to purchase a device that the offending driver must blow into before starting the vehicle. Drivers must have the equipment for one year after receiving the IRP.

So while the overall numbers went down in 2012, there were still more people charged with impaired driving, and that leaves the detachment scratching their collective heads.

“You folks (media) have done a great job for us by always putting it out to the public and letting them know we’re checking for impaired drivers on a regular basis,” said Molendyk.

“We keep making people aware it’s an offence to drink and drive and that we’re out there. But people still take chances and figure it won’t be them.”

Over the past week, the RCMP issued one 24-hour suspension for drugs; four three-day IRPs, one 90-day IRP and arrested one person for impaired driving.