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Island police net 26 suspected impaired drivers on Canada Day weekend

Nearly one in 10 drivers tested were pulled off the road for suspected impairment, says the B.C. Highway Patrol Vancouver Island.
A B.C. Highway Patrol vehicle. Police say drivers can expect to see stepped-up impaired-driving enforcement throughout the summer. BC RCMP

Police nabbed 26 suspected impaired drivers on Island roads on the Canada Day weekend — about one in 10 drivers tested.

B.C. Highway Patrol Vancouver Island administered 265 roadside breath-screening tests, curbing 24 drivers for suspected alcohol impairment and two for suspected drug impairment, police said this week.

“Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of deaths on our roadways, so finding nearly one out of every 10 drivers we tested over the weekend impaired is of great concern to me,” said Staff Sgt. Adam Tallboy, acting officer in charge of the highway patrol on the Island.

“Drivers who have consumed drugs or alcohol have a number of options to get home safely instead of getting behind the wheel of their vehicle and endangering all other road users.”

Drivers received immediate roadside driving prohibitions ranging from three days to 90 days — depending on factors like blood-alcohol concentration — and vehicles were impounded.

Enforcement was focused on the Lake Cowichan area as a result of the Laketown Shakedown music festival in Youbou.

Increased enforcement is also expected in that area on the August long weekend, when Sunfest music festival takes place at the same location.

The Sunfest website warns about police road checks during the festival and urges visitors to plan a safe ride home, saying there will be a shuttle service and taxis on site.

Police said drivers can expect to see stepped-up impaired-driving enforcement throughout the summer with mandatory breath tests.

The enforcement program is part of a B.C. Association of Police Chiefs campaign that began June 15.

In addition to music festivals, police said they will keep an eye on events like fairs as well as recreational areas around the Island.

ICBC statistics show impaired-driving crashes involving death or injury jump by 27 per cent in the summer in B.C., and by 21 per cent on Vancouver Island.

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