New Statistics Canada data showing a small uptick in impaired driving arrests in the Tri-Cities may not necessarily mean more people are getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.
Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin told The Tri-City News the increase is likely attributed to stepped-up enforcement, which has been a primary focus of traffic officers over the last few years and has led to a rise in the number of impaired driving arrests.
“It is difficult to look at trends… and impaired driving is a wonderful example,” he said. “When you have a couple of great campaigns and get overtime… you can get a whole bunch of files that skew the statistics.”
Over the last five years, total impaired driving violations are up 33.2% in Coquitlam, 2.3% in Port Coquitlam and 28.4% in Port Moody. The increase has come as the rest of the province has seen a 5.5% decline in drunk driving arrests.
However, while impaired driving arrest numbers have been on the rise over the last five years, they are still a long way from the figures seen in between 2008 and 2011, when the rate per 100,000 topped 700 in Port Moody, 400 in Port Coquitlam and 300 in Coquitlam (see graph).
According to road safety data from the province of BC, as many as 62 people died in car accidents involving impaired driving in 2017.