120 people are injured in 410 crashes on New Year’s Eve every year in Lower Mainland

Photo: ICBC

NEW Year’s Eve is a busy night on our roads with celebrations at bars, restaurants, loved ones’ homes and even outdoors. ICBC and police are urging everyone to drive smart and make a plan before you begin your festivities to ensure you make it home safely.

On New Year’s Eve (6 p.m. on December 31 to midnight on January 1) alone, one person is killed and 170 people are injured in 620 crashes (based on five-year average) in B.C.

In the Lower Mainland itself, an average of 120 people are injured in 410 crashes.

This New Year’s Eve and over the holidays, police are stepping up enforcement of impaired driving at CounterAttack roadchecks across the province. Despite all of the progress that has been made over the last 40 years due to CounterAttack and tougher penalties, impaired driving still remains a top contributing factor for fatal crashes in B.C. These crashes also significantly contribute to the cost pressures on B.C. insurance rates.

“Making the wrong choice to drive while you’re impaired could have tremendous impacts and consequences for not only your life but the lives of others,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “We don’t want to have to inform any families that they’ve lost their loved one this New Year’s Eve. There’s no excuse. If you’re planning to drink, leave your car at home.”

If you’re hosting a party, prepare tasty non-alcoholic drinks and snacks for designated drivers. Encourage your guests not to drink and drive. There’s always at least one smart option to get home—like arranging a designated driver, setting money aside for a taxi, taking transit or using Operation Red Nose which operates in 19 B.C. communities.

If you’re the designated driver this New Year’s, you need to drive smart – use your defensive driving skills and pay attention to other vehicles on the roads. Crashes involving impaired drivers are more likely to occur in the evening and on weekends.

“We want everyone to ring in the New Year safely with their friends and family,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “The fact is, impaired driving crashes and the painful aftermath they cause are completely preventable. If your New Year’s Eve celebrations involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”