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Holiday road blocks already catching impaired drivers

As the holiday season kicks into high gear, police are conducting road checks to ensure drivers aren't too full of the festive spirit.

As the holiday season kicks into high gear, police are conducting road checks to ensure drivers aren't too full of the festive spirit.

At the Port Moody Police's first road block Saturday, officers issued one immediate roadside prohibition and several violation tickets for offences such as speeding, no driver's licence and driving contrary to restrictions. There were also notices issued for defective vehicle equipment.

"We were pleased to see the amount of designated drivers coming through roadblocks as well as the number of people using services such as Operation Red Nose," said PMPD Const. Luke van Winkel.

Since Dec. 1, the PMPD has opened seven files relating to drivers at various levels of impairment from alcohol and/or drugs, from immediate roadside prohibition warnings to criminal impaired charges. Last December, the PMPD had 21 alcohol-related driving files ranging from impaired to 24-hour prohibitions.

Van Winkel said PMPD officers will staff more roadblocks throughout the month, and reminded drivers to plan for a safe ride home.

Coquitlam RCMP kicked off its 35th annual CounterAttack blitz early this month.

At least one driver, returning from a friend's birthday party, claimed he'd only had "a couple of drinks" but an impaired driving investigation resulted in a 30-day vehicle impoundment and a 90-day driving prohibition.

From Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, Coquitlam RCMP issued six 90-day driving prohibitions (for drivers whose breath sample results in a "fail"), one driving prohibition of three, seven or 30 days (breath sample results in a "warn") and three 24-hour driving prohibitions.

"Our message is getting through to some but not to everyone," Sgt. Dave Fee said in a press release. "Our mandate during the holiday season is to remove the impaired driver from the road. If you can't police yourself, we'll do it for you."

He cautioned that decoys such as gum, mints, perfume or a quick gulp of water don't mask the smell of alcohol, and coffee or greasy, salty food will not make you sober.

spayne@tricitynews.com