Numbers of impaired drivers taken off the road in the Williams Lake area increased in 2019. (File photo)

Impaired driving charges on the rise in Williams Lake

RCMP Const. Colin Champagne said there were 271 drivers charged in 2019, 157 in 2018

A Williams Lake RCMP officer is wondering what can be done to stop impaired driving in the area.

Const. Colin Champagne of the Williams Lake detachment told the Tribune in 2019 a total of 271 impaired investigations led to charges under the criminal code or the motor vehicle act.

The number has increased from 157 impaired charges or sanctions in 2018.

“That’s a huge jump,” he said.

Driving around the Williams Lake area there are signs of trauma from impaired driving, and Champagne said he is left wondering why the message is not getting out.

“To see the numbers jump from 157 to 271, it’s hard to reason that. You are left wondering what are we doing wrong?”

Read more: 12 alcohol related roadside prohibitions over holidays

During Intox Certification Training in Vancouver, he learned statistics show for every impaired driver pulled off the road there are many that are missed.

Every year the number of impaired drivers caught peaks on weekends and during special functions or seasons, he added.

“Our enforcement efforts have increased for 2019, which can be part of the reason why numbers were higher, but I also think there were more impaired drivers,” Champagne said. “When you break down the numbers for Williams Lake it’s one impaired driver for every 1.3 days.”

Champagne said it seems the trend is continuing into 2020.

“We just took five impaired drivers off the road this last weekend.”

ICBC notes B.C. has the toughest drinking and driving laws in Canada.

If caught driving impaired one can face a number of penalties including driving suspensions from 24 hours to 90 days, vehicle impoundments, fines from $600 and up to $4,060, jail time, mandatory rehabilitation or an installation of ignition interlock in your vehicle.

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