The RCMP CounterAttack road check program in December is a Christmas holiday tradition.
And it’s time residents of the North Okanagan and Southern Interior got its message.
CounterAttack, which is aimed at getting impaired drivers off the road, is 35 years old this year, having started back in 1977.
The year before CounterAttack started – 1976 – more than 300 people were killed in impaired related crashes every year in B.C.
Attitudes toward drinking and driving, of course, have changed considerably, and the RCMP keep repeating their message about its dangers, their repeated enforcement campaigns and how getting impaired drivers off the road remains a top priority.
But in the 35 years since CounterAttack’s inception, an average of 113 lives are still lost each year, and impaired driving remains the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.
Statistics released by ICBC show that, between 2007 and 2011, there were an average of 36 impaired-related crashes in the Southern Interior. That’s the most of B.C.’s four regions (32 in Lower Mainland, 25 in North Central and 21 on Vancouver Island). The message is being heard, but not heeded in our region.
And that’s head-scratching. Because given the tough financial penalties, the possibility of a criminal record and the potential for loss of life, it’s a wonder anybody gets behind the wheel at all after having had several drinks.
So take the advice of RCMP and the CounterAttack program.
Don’t drink and drive, not just during the holidays but any time. Plan ahead, use alternate transportation or use a designated driver.
Let’s all have a safe Christmas season.
—The Morning Star