Greater Victoria police departments join July CounterAttack campaign to stop impaired drivers

Greater Victoria police departments join July CounterAttack campaign to stop impaired drivers
WatchIf you are heading out for Canada day, or to enjoy some non-essential travel, police are reminding you to stay out of the driver's seat if you're impaired. Tomorrow marks the start of this summer's counter attack campaign. Julian Kolsut reports.

With non-essential travel back in B.C. and Canada Day right around the corner, many are hitting the roads to get out of town or meet up with others, but there is a warning from police.

“Police across the province are stepping up impaired driving enforcement amid easing COVID restrictions,” said superintendent Holly Turton from the BC RCMP Traffic Services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is no excuse to ignore the law. It is never okay to drive while your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired by anything including drugs or alcohol.”

July is dedicated to the RCMP’s Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign, and police forces in the Greater Victoria Area are also stepping up.

“We all heard stories there is more alcohol consumption going on right now with COVID,” said Oak Bay Police Department deputy chief Ray Bernoties.

“More people staying at home and drinking with friends. It’s important to note whether you are drinking at someone’s backyard for a barbecue or going to a restaurant the implications of drinking and driving are the same,” added Bernoties.

Saanich Police Department is also seeing an uptick in impaired driving cases and is joining the campaign.

“Last night we did have an officer stop someone for speeding and they refused to provide a breath sample … We certainly are seeing more people making poor decisions while choosing to drive impaired,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades of the Saanich Police Department.

Both the Saanich Police Department and the Oak Bay Police Department are joining the campaign. Their efforts come just two weeks after a driver slammed their vehicle, which had stickers taunting police, into a tree on Oak Bay’s Beach Drive.

Oak Bay police say alcohol is being considered a factor and in addition to the five traffic tickets, they’re also are recommending a criminal charge for dangerous driving, and now a charge for impeding their investigation.

This past weekend Oak Bay police said they also saw an uptick in impaired driving investigations. Bernoties says it’s becoming clear that some people just aren’t getting the message.

“This weekend we had three impaired investigations,” said Bernoties. “Sadly it seems that people aren’t getting the message that we sometimes like to believe … but three in one weekend, it might be a sign of good police work or it might be the sign of more people impaired driving.”

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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