Princeton RCMP haul impaired drivers off the road in staggering numbers

Princeton RCMP haul impaired drivers off the road in staggering numbers

Last year Princeton RCMP took at least 158 impaired drivers off the road.

The detachment issued almost as many road side suspensions and prohibitions as police in Penticton, Keremeos, Osoyoos, Oliver and Summerland combined.

Princeton RCMP also dealt with nearly three times the number of criminal code impaired driving investigations as their counterparts in the rest of the region.

“There’s no question. If you are caught drinking and driving in Princeton you will be charged,” said Sergeant Robert Hughes, detachment commander.

Officers working from Princeton issued eight 90-day road side suspensions, 78 three day suspensions and 72 24-hour prohibitions – a total of 158 files for a served population of approximately 5,000.

By way of comparison Penticton RCMP – that city has a population of 33,000 – wrote up 36 90-day suspensions, seven refusals to provide a breath sample, one seven-day suspension, 36 three- day suspensions, four 24-hour prohibitions and eight 24-hour drug suspensions, for a total of 92.

Princeton RCMP also conducted 30 criminal code impaired driving investigations. During that same time Penticton police had seven, Osoyoos had three and Keremeos and one.

All numbers are from the Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen Regional Detachment year end statistical report released last week.

Hughes emphasized the detachment is committed to zero tolerance for drinking and driving.

“There are no free passes and there’s no free ride home. Well, I guess free ride home isn’t the right [phrase] because we will give you a free ride home.”

Hughes said the statistics are partly owing to the large geographic area covered by the Princeton detachment, stretching from Hedley to beyond Manning Park along Highway 3.

“Princeton is the biggest geographic area. While we don’t have the most people, he have a lot of area to cover.”

Three officers working for the RCMP South Okanagan Traffic Division are dedicated to patrolling the roads within the Princeton boundaries, he added.

The numbers also reflect targeted enforcement.

“Some of this is going to be driven by Tulameen Days because we put a tonne of enforcement out, with zero tolerance,” said Hughes.

RCMP also conducted a series of local spot-checks during the Princeton Rodeo in June.

Hughes said the public has assisted in catching impaired drivers.

“Our reports of complaints in this area are increasing and public tolerance seems to be decreasing,” he said.

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