Deaths that didn’t happen

for me there was no satisfaction in the successful prosecution of the impaired driver that caused them.

  • Dec. 1, 2011 11:00 a.m.

I’m no stranger to death by automobile.

It was never a pleasure to investigate fatalities and for me there was no satisfaction in the successful prosecution of the impaired driver that caused them.

Many more people than the direct victims were hurt and I knew that the only way I could really contribute was to hunt down the impaired drivers and stop them.

A recent press release in relation to the first year of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program referred to 45 deaths that didn’t happen on B.C.’s highways during that time.

However, turn it around and look at the 71 that did if we accept the average of the past five years. We’ve still got a long way to go.

I maintain a collision counter on my DriveSmartBC website that ticks upward each day based on the totals for the last year’s collision statistics published by ICBC.

Today, it shows 115 alcohol-related collision deaths and 2,511 alcohol-related collision injuries. We are very fortunate that the totals may now be overstating the problem.

So, to those who subscribe to the philosophy that drinking means not driving and driving means not drinking and to the officers who are continuing the hunt, you have my respect and encouragement.

For those of you who haven’t learned yet, I hope you don’t hurt anyone before you realize that wisdom. It shouldn’t be possible for police to catch 15,401 “fail” drivers during year, but experience tells me it is still a small part of the real total.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.