Don’t be surprised if while driving around Sooke, you find yourself stopped at a roadblock where police officers will be making certain that you are not impaired.
It’s all in the spirit of keeping drivers safe over the holiday season, and the provincial CounterAttack program, said Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur, head of the Sooke RCMP detachment.
“Unfortunately, this year we’ve had the highest number of impaired driving charges that we’ve seen for many years. It may not be that more drunks are on the road, we’re doing more enforcement,” said McArthur.
McArthur added that the police have also begun to watch for drivers who have indulged in marijuana use. A number of Sooke officers are trained to detect drug use as part of CounterAttack.
“Time will tell how big a problem this will be,” said McArthur, adding the RCMP’s experience is that drivers tend to combine smoking pot with alcohol consumption.
He stressed, while the culture has radically changed from an era when drunk driving was viewed as less serious than it is today, that change hasn’t necessarily taken hold with driving high.
“Some people don’t think that driving high is a problem, but it is and the risks to safety and the penalties are the same,” said McArthur.
McArthur said that anyone who is driving while impaired and sees check stop up ahead needn’t try to pull off or take a detour.
“We’re prepared for that and it sort of signals to us that it’s that driver we need to talk to,” he said.
The CounterAttack program will run throughout the holiday season, extending beyond New Year’s Day.
“If you’re going to drink or use marijuana – don’t drive. We want our community to stay safe,” said McArthur.