Call 911, MADD and police urge
New signs went up Tuesday in Port Coquitlam to encourage motorists to call 911 if they see a potential impaired driver on the road.
Coquitlam and PoCo city officials joined local Mounties and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to unveil a red and white sign posted at 3312 Coast Meridian Rd., north of Prairie Avenue.
MADD is funding eight of its Campaign 911 signs in PoCo and five in Coquitlam. Similar signs have already been posted in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Nanaimo as well as other cities across Canada in an effort to stop drunk drivers.
Last month, MADD reported a 911 tip from a concern citizen in Ontario led to impaired driving charges against a 35-year-old Toronto man; his driver's licence was suspended for 90 days and his vehicle was impounded.
Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada. Last year, 20 people in the Lower Mainland died as a result of impaired drivers, and 143 people over the past five years.
"Campaign 911 gives citizens an important way to help police take impaired drivers off our roads and sends the message to impaired drivers that other motorists are watching and will report them to police," Tracy Crawford, MADD Canada chapter services manager, said in a news release.
An impaired driver may be driving unreasonably fast, slow or at an inconsistent speed; drifting in and out of lanes; tailgating and changing lanes frequently; and disregarding signals. And motorists who see a potential impaired driver are asked to maintain a safe distance, and pull over or have a passenger call 911 to report:
• your location;
• the description of the suspect vehicle (colour, make, model, licence plate number);
• the direction of the suspect vehicle;
• and the description of the driver.
Meanwhile, the Insurance Corp. of BC and police launched a campaign yesterday to crack down on distracted driving — now the third leading cause of car crash fatalities in the province. The campaign comes after an Ipsos Reid poll found that 40% of respondents who own cell phones admitted to using hand-held phones while driving.