There is always that turning point every year when the season changes and it officially seems like all the fall holidays are coming up quick. This means parties, food, and for many, merriment and drinks.
With those drinks comes an increase of drunk drivers on the roads, which means more accidents and fatalities. MADD estimates “between 1,250 and 1,500 people are killed and more than 63,000 are injured each year in Canada in impairment-related crashes.”
In British Columbia, there are some cities that record more impaired drivers than others. In 2016, Statistics Canada released a list of cities with the highest records of drunk driving police-reported incidents, and the province took a few spots in the Top 10.
Kelowna, Victoria, and Abottsford-Mission ranked 2, 4, and 8 respectively. That’s not great. (Vancouver comes in at #16 to round out the Top 20.)
There is another angle to consider, however. And that is how much law enforcement is catching people who are drinking and driving. It depends on the size, mobility, and resources of the force, and what tactics they are employing to catch people in the act.
This province does have a sharp focus on catching drunk drivers, and a spokesperson for MADD agrees saying, “Police are doing a really good job of catching who’s out there. BC is the model program for Canada.”
BC did increase the penalties for drunk driving while lowering the legal limit for blood alcohol levels, and it seems to have had a positive effect on road safety. According to one article, “with tough drunk-driving laws, the BC government says that alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths have decreased by 52 per cent since the Immediate Roadside Prohibition regulations were passed in 2010.”
The truth is, we can never know the actual number of people who are drinking over the limit and getting behind the wheel. But if that many people are getting caught, it is obvious that there are far more people out there getting away with it.
What is certain is that it is never ok to drive drunk, and that’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan in place before the drinks start flowing. But sometimes merriment is spontaneous, especially during the holidays, and we can’t always plan for it. So what we can do is make sure we are taking care to get ourselves and our vehicles home safely, and to not endanger other drivers and pedestrians.
There is always an increase in the number of check stops during the holidays and the risk is simply never (ever) worth it. A safe ride home service, like Safe Designated Drivers, has the safety of the community at large in mind. There is never any judgment and we are simply glad to help keep people safe. Period.
As we ramp up for the busy season, we encourage everyone to keep our number in their phone for easy access. At Safe Designated Drivers, we are eager to help our community’s roads stay safe and to help our customers in a stress-free and timely fashion.