Police roadblocks will include cannabis component this holiday season
Expect more roadblocks across British Columbia — also known as CounterAttack — as holiday celebrations commence and police try to cut down on impaired driving in December.
According to the Insurance Company of British Columbia, impaired driving kills almost 70 people in B.C. a year, but Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord says that figure is trending downwards thanks partly to the roadside prohibition program, resulting in immediate consequences for those who are found to be over the limit when stopped. Besides drunk drivers, police will also look for those who get behind the wheel stoned.
“I don’t think we’ll completely ever eliminate the problem, and certainly now with cannabis on the market, it’s going to be that little bit more difficult to round impaired driving,” Dubord says, adding drivers should expect the following questions from officers.
“Where are you coming from? How much have you had to drink tonight, or have you had anything to drink tonight? And now we’re also asking, have you consumed any marijuana?”
He says cannabis legalization has added a new dynamic to traffic law enforcement, though Delta officers will not be using a cannabis detector device.
“I don’t think you’ll see many police departments having the Drager DrugTest 5000 at the road side,” Dubord says.
If you plan on drinking or consuming other state altering substances, ICBC recommends to plan ahead and get a safe ride home either by taxi or a designated driver, or to simply stay the night. There is also ICBC’s Operation Red Nose throughout most of the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland that will get you home safely.
If you get caught impaired behind the wheel, penalties can range from driving suspensions to vehicle impounding and hundreds of dollars in fines, to jail time, depending on the severity.
For more on CounterAttack, have a listen to this week’s Ask the Chief with Tim James who is discussing the initiative with Dubord.
Be safe out there.