Sooke RCMP have pulled several drunk drivers off the roads this year, and it could be due to more enforcement.
Mounties have issued more than 60 roadside prohibitions, and charged almost 20 people with impaired driving.
Alcohol-and drug-affected driving remain a leading cause of death on B.C.’s roads, says ICBC.
Police have the power to demand a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop. Drivers who have a blood-alcohol level of more than .05 can have their vehicles impounded for 30 days, lose their licence for 90 days, and face hefty fines.
“We’ve had 18 impaired charges this year, but I’m not sure that means there’s an increase in drinking and driving. It may simply be that we are doing more enforcement when we’re able and that those drivers are now just being caught,” said Sooke RCMP Cpl. Dawn Gilhen.
Gilhen said an increase in roadblocks and people reporting drunk drivers helps police.
“We will sometimes get calls from other drivers who will report someone who they believe to be impaired,” Gilhen said.
“If they call in and can safely stay on the phone to give us a license number, vehicle description, as well as the location and direction they’re travelling, we will do out best to get there and check it out.”
The incidence of impaired driving isn’t unique to Sooke.
Ladysmith RCMP Const. Tyler Cargill said his community has about the same officer complement as the Sooke detachment, and has seen similar numbers of impaired drivers and roadside prohibitions.
“I can’t speak to what goes through these people’s minds (when they get behind the wheel after having some drinks), but in general, I can say that I haven’t seen much of a change in behaviour,” he said.
“It’s a real shame.”