The number of impaired drivers caught by police in Nanaimo barely squeaked into the double digits over the holiday season.
From Dec. 15 to Jan. 1 police police issued eight 90-day immediate roadside driving prohibitions, one 90-day prohibition to a driver who refused testing for suspected drug impairment, two 24-hour roadside suspensions for driving under the influence of drugs and one impaired driving charge issued by a drug recognition expert.
“Of those eight 90-day IRPs, four of those were on New Year’s Day in the morning, within the first six to eight hours on New Year’s Day,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “These people continued their partying well into the early morning hours and made the unwise decision of attempting to drive home.”
O’Brien said drivers face the same penalty for failing to provide a sample for a police sobriety test as they would for failing the test.
“It’s the same penalty,” O’Brien said. “You might think you’re impaired, but maybe you’re not.”
For the same time period in 2017, police issued 12 90-day IRPs, three IRPs for refusing to provide a sample, two three-day IRPs, one 24-hour suspension and initiated two impaired driving investigations.
“We’re going to say those numbers are probably down because, believe it or not, we actually think that the message might be getting through,” he said. “We are seeing a significant number of designated drivers who are actually sober. When the DD program started we’d often check drivers who [said], ‘Yeah, I’m the DD I’ve only had two beer,’ and now they’re actually stone cold sober and a lot of people are calling their buddies to drive, they’re using taxis, Get a Go Go. Maybe it’s too early to be optimistic, but hopefully we’d like to see that trend continuing into the new year.”