Port McNeill RCMP were out on Friday night holding holiday roadblocks, looking for impaired drivers. (Bill McQuarrie - North Island Gazette)

Roadblock: CounterAttack aims to end Driving Under the Influence

The use of designated drivers is now a common practice, especially amongst younger drivers.

While driving during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, the chances are good you’ll see the familiar blue and red flashing lights of a CounterAttack roadblock on the road ahead of you.

For those who haven’t been drinking or are being driven home by a designated driver, the sight can be reassuring; knowing that every effort is being made to keep drunk drivers off of the roads. And according to Road Safety BC, CounterAttack has played a major role in reducing the number of impaired drivers.

To find out how CounterAttack operates here on the North Island, this reporter was able to spend a few hours last Friday (Dec.13) with the RCMP at a roadblock setup at the corner of Pioneer Hill and Campbell Way in Port McNeill.

This was the first roadblock of the evening, with Constables Brady, Corcoran and Bartlett spending about an hour at this location before relocating to other sites. Throughout the entire evening and at all locations, the officers stopped over 70 vehicles. There were no instances of impaired driving and a total of five warnings for motor vehicle related offences that were handed out.

It was a Friday night, the height of Christmas party season and no alcohol related stops had happened during the evening. According to the officers, the success of the evening can be directly attributed to the awareness created by CounterAttack and more significantly, the Immediate Roadside Suspension program that was introduced back in 2011.

Since 2011 when the Immediate Roadside Suspension program was introduced, the annual number of drivers found to be DUI or driving under the influence (alcohol and drug) has fallen by just over 6000, going from 22,671 to an average of 16,000 in British Columbia.

As the number of drivers found to be impaired has fallen, so too have the number of deaths related to impaired driving. In 2011 there were 111 DUI related fatalities in British Columbia. By 2018 that number had fallen to 51 people, which is a significant and promising reduction.

Despite these improvements, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) report a disturbing new trend in the number of fatalities involving drugs instead of alcohol. Those numbers are, according to MADD, double that of those involving just alcohol, with cannabis being present in almost half of the drug-positive fatal crashes.

Local RCMP is aware of this new trend and as a result, CounterAttack roadblocks in the Tri-Port area often include locally based officers that are trained in the detection of drug related impairment.

Enforcement appears to be having an impact, but after talking with some drivers waiting for their turn to pass through the roadblock, it became obvious that attitudes have changed. Unlike times past, they say the dangers are acknowledged and drinking and driving has become socially unacceptable. And for this Christmas season, the use of designated drivers is now a common practice, especially amongst younger drivers.

– Bill McQuarrie article

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island All Candidates Meeting scheduled virtually for Oct. 14

‘our local candidates for the B.C. Provincial Election will be joining us’

Abandoned Neucel mill in Port Alice to cost at least $17 million to decommission

Removing hazardous waste and de-risking the site ratchet up bill to taxpayers

Growing food sovereignty at Klemtu

Greenhouse and grow boxes help create circular food economy for Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nations

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Gratitude is a great thing, what are you grateful for?

‘I want to say a heartfelt thanks to Steven Cahill for all his hard work over the years’

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read