With many looking to celebrate the end of 2023 and the beginning of a new year, the RCMP is reminding the public to think ahead and plan a safe ride home.
“Operating a motor vehicle impaired after consuming alcohol (or drugs for that matter) is a danger to not only yourself, but to everyone with you, everyone that happens to be driving by or walking by you – just everyone,” Ashcroft RCMP Const. Richard Wright said.
According to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), 21 per cent of fatal crashes in the province involve impaired driving. The agency also says those crashes claim around 60 lives annually.
“Thinking ahead and planning a safe ride home for after your New Year’s festivities can be the difference between starting the new year out well or starting with a worse hangover than any alcohol could ever provide you,” said Const. Wright.
B.C. is home to the strictest drinking and driving laws in the country. If caught behind the wheel while impaired, you could face a driving suspension ranging from 24 hours to 90 days, vehicle impoundment, fines from $600 to $4,060, jail time, mandatory rehabilitation, and installation of an ignition interlock in your vehicle. You may also have to pay a risk premium on your insurance.
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On Dec. 21, Salmon Arm RCMP pulled over a woman who was prohibited from driving after an officer observed her speeding and failing to stop at a stop sign. The woman was slurring her speech as she spoke to the officer, when then conducted a roadside alcohol screening test. The driver initially blew a “fail.” On a second test, she blew a “warn.”
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The lower of the two tests stands, which led to the woman’s vehicle being impounded, a three-day immediate driving prohibition, a notice of driving prohibition, a violation ticket of $598 for no insurance, and a future court date to speak to the allegations of driving while prohibited.
If you plan on enjoying a few beverages this New Year’s Eve, the RCMP recommends travelling with a designated driver, arranging to stay overnight in a hotel near your party, leaving your vehicle parked, celebrating at home with friends and family, or walking to and from the bar with a friend.
“Have fun and get home safe,” Const. Wright said.