Drivers be warned.
Starting June 19 there is going to be a two-day (and night) vehicle blitz by a heavily bolstered Penticton RCMP traffic section on area streets and highways.
According to head of the division Cpl. Ted Manchulenko while much of the effort will be targeted at impaired drivers — drugs and alcohol — officers will also be watching closely for any other infractions.
“There will be little bits of everything we’ll be looking at speed, aggressive driving, distracted driving, the whole gambit,” said Manchulenko who estimated another 14 officers will be added to the regular force for the two days.
While the exact figures are not available yet, he added if things continue the way they are going the drinking and driving problem could be even worse than usual as the summer progresses.
“I don’t know why it is so bad, I don’t know whether people just aren’t getting the message, maybe it’s been summer time for far too long. Summer started early,” he said. “I don’t really think that is what it is (tourists) entirely, sure that has a little bit of responsibility to play into it, but I don’t think entirely.”
According to Manchulenko, one the most recent cases where alcohol was a contributing factor was a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 97 near West Bench Hill Drive.
It is believed the small car was southbound at a high rate of speed when it failed to negotiate the tight corner. The accident happened just after midnight June 16.
“Again, lucky or unlucky depending on how you look at it and what position you have in the entire chain of events, everybody was able to walk away. Damage and injury, absolutely but fortunately, knock on wood, no fatalities yet, but nonetheless the potential is certainly there,” said Manchulenko.
The female driver was issued a 90-day driving prohibition and the vehicle was impounded for 30 days.
Neither the driver or passenger are believed to have been seriously hurt.
During the two days Alexa’s Bus will be in Penticton.
The bus was put into service in memory of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer who was killed by a drunk driver while feeding horses on the side of the road in 2008 in Delta. The driver, Carol Berner received two and a half years in jail.
Since the girl’s death significant changes have been made to BC’s drinking and driver laws which has had a major impact on the number of drinking and driving related deaths.
In addition to being an educational tool it also contains substantial impaired driving tools for use by officers.