Police to watch for impaired drivers

Police are urging motorists to put away the keys if they have been drinking this holiday season.

Police are urging motorists to put away the keys if they have been drinking this holiday season.

Sgt. Stephane Lacroix of the Summerland RCMP detachment said the number of alcohol-related driving violations this year has been puzzling.

“I was surprised,” he said. “I thought people were starting to learn.”

Penalties for impaired driving in British Columbia are severe.

For a first offense, a motorist who blows a Warn level of .05 to .08 will lose his or her license for three days.

The vehicle may be impounded for up to three days.

The costs of towing and storage are $150 and there is a $200 administrative penalty and a $250 driver’s license reinstatement fee, for a total cost of $600.

For a second offense within a five-year period, the license is suspended for seven days and the vehicle may be impounded for up to seven days. The costs add up to $760.

A motorist who blows a Warn reading for the third time in five years will lose his or her license for 30 days and the vehicle can be impounded for up to 30 days.

When the vehicle is released, the motorist must also have an ignition interlock installed. The cost of this device is $1,730. It prohibits an impaired driver from starting the car.

All costs for a third offense are $3,960.

A motorist who blows a Fail, for a blood alcohol level of more than .08, will have his or her license suspended for 90 days and the vehicle impounded for 30 days.

In addition, he or she must have the ignition interlock device installed.

The costs add up to $4,060.

A mandatory Responsible Driver Program may be required for some violations.

Lacroix said there are no excuses for impaired driving in Summerland.

Taxi service is in place and designated drivers can be appointed.

He added that the younger drivers seem to be better at preparing. However, one of the recent impaired driving incidents in Summerland involved a 20-year-old motorist.

Lacroix said additional police staff have been in place conducting road checks since the weekend

“We want to make sure everyone has a good time and everyone gets home safe and sound,” he said.