Increased road blocks in the region for the month of December have revealed that residents were drinking and driving responsibly.
According to Staff Sgt. Steve Wright, the Sooke RCMP increased the number of road blocks in the region between Dec. 1 to 31.
A total of eight operational reports were filed for road blocks in December by the detachment. The number of road blocks, however, may be more.
The efforts of Sooke RCMP resulted in three criminal impaired driving charges and three immediate roadside prohibitions — very low numbers, according to Wright.
“Starting Dec. 1, we stepped up the number of road blocks and the message is getting through,” he said.
“The visual of people going through road blocks has had a good impact. People are being more responsible in terms of getting designated drivers, and there are liquor establishments in the community that offer limousine services for their patrons, which is wonderful.”
The holiday season was also free from serious injury accidents, and alcohol related crashes.
“The message was obviously loud and clear,” Wright said.
On the evening of Dec. 21, the Sooke News Mirror’s Sharron Ho tagged along with the RCMP for a ride-a-long and road block in East Sooke. This was her experience.
Sitting passenger side to Const. Reid Miller, the evening began doing a typical patrol, with Miller scanning the road for speeders, dangerous driving and suspicious behaviour.
Miller stated one of the thrilling aspects of being a police officer is never knowing what could happen during a 10-hour shift.
He is in constant contact with other police officers on duty, as well as regular contact with dispatch.
Later, Miller joined other officers who were performing a road block on East Sooke and Gillepsie Roads.
Officers stopped cars, inquiring whether or not drivers had anything to drink that evening, checking the vehicles’ rear view lights, status of car insurance, and viewing the contents inside vehicles.
Miller said there are a variety of signs, which when combined, can be telling of whether or not a person is inebriated. He listed watery, red eyes, the odour of alcohol, fumbling with a wallet, slurred speech and overall sluggish movement.
Miller said road block locations are selected based on safety for cops and the public, and areas likely to be driven by the impaired.
“We try not to be a nuisance to the public, while making sure everyone is safe,” he added.
All drivers who were checked during the half-hour East Sooke road block were sober.
Police officers held two other road blocks that evening, on the 1700-block of West Coast Road and on Sooke Road. Neither resulted in nabbing a drunk driver.
What happens if you are impaired:
According to ICBC, police in B.C. can issue an immediate roadside prohibition to an impaired driver with a blood alcohol content of .05 or higher, based on a breath sample from a roadside screening device.
The vehicle can also be immediately taken off the road and impounded for three to 30 days.
Related costs for these offences can be between $600 to $4,060. This is without taking into consideration the cost of a lawyer. There are also costs ($3,750 approx.) associated with getting and maintaining an ignition interlock device which may be placed in a vehicle, if convicted in court.
For further details on drinking and driving suspensions and prohibitions, visit: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/prohibitions/impaired-driving.htm#irp