Cpl. Jodi Shelki of the Fort St. John RCMP explains the “life-long sentence” attributed to injuring or killing someone as a result of drinking and driving.
“People will say, ‘well I’ll take my own risks with my own life,’ but it’s not just you,” Cpl Shelkie goes on to say. “You have to think of the other people out there on the road as well,”
Cpl Shelike adds, “It’s not just a risk of a ticket, and it’s not just the risk of danger to yourself, it’s the risk of hurting somebody else.”
Every December, an average of 410 people are injured in 1,800 crashes in the North Central region of B.C., according to statistics gathered 2009 – 2013 from ICBC.
“People believe that they’re not impaired when they really are, so the risk is much higher than actually a lot of people believe,” Cpl. Shelike said.
The best way of combating the risk of driving drunk or getting into the car with a drunk driver, according Cpl. Shelkie, is having a ‘Plan A’, ‘Plan B’, and even a ‘Plan C.’
“’Plan A’ is to have a designated driver, ‘Plan B’ may be to call for a taxi, ‘Plan C’ is to stay overnight,” Cpl. Shelkie emphasizes. “Whatever you can work out, but make sure you have those in place before you go [out].”
The consequences of being convicted of drinking and driving include, but are not limited to the immediate impounding of your car for up to 30 days, incurring cost that can add up to $4,000, an increase on your insurance, and a prohibition from driving for at least one year.
This is in addition to charges of impaired driving causing bodily harm or causing death, which according to Criminal Code of Canada , can land you behind bars anywhere between 10 – 25 years.
Fort St. John’s population is often credited as being that of a younger generation, and while Cpl. Shelki says this doesn’t necessary mean they’re more prone to making poor choices, local RCMP do pull-over their fair share of impaired drivers.
“I think we’re very average here, and some years it’s higher than others – hopefully this year isn’t,” Cpl. Shelki said. “That’s why we’ll be out there in force, and not only is every member looking for that impaired driver when they’re out-and-about, but also, we’ll be setting up road blocks.”
If you do witness an impaired and/or dangerous driver on the road, Cpl. Shelkie advices you to pull-over, record the licence place and direction of travel, then immediately dial 911.
“Remember, we’re out there watching so don’t drink and drive,” Cpl. Shelkie concludes.