THE B.C. government, police and ICBC have launched the annual December CounterAttack campaign to ask drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if their holiday festivities will involve alcohol.

During December, an average of five people are killed in B.C. each year in crashes involving impaired driving.

While attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed considerably over the years, an average of 95 lives are still lost each year and impaired driving remains a leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.

“We’ve come a long way since 1976, the year before CounterAttack roadchecks started, when more than 300 people were killed in impaired related crashes each year in our province,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “Despite the progress, the numbers are far too high, which is why we’re committed to reducing crashes involving alcohol and drugs and will continue to support enhanced enforcement, including the December CounterAttack campaign.”

If your holiday festivities involve alcohol, make a plan before you head out. Arrange for a designated driver or use other options to get home safely – call a taxi or Operation Red Nose, take transit or call a sober friend.

“The reality is that approximately one third of all car crash fatalities in B.C. are related to impaired driving,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “These are preventable tragedies. Safety is our top priority and we want everyone to do their part this Christmas season and look out for their friends and family – take a stand and don’t let them get behind the wheel impaired.”

Police across the province will be out in full force at CounterAttack roadchecks this holiday season looking for drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“Every December, we see people who think they’re okay to drive but end up causing crashes that change lives forever,” said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “The hardest aspect of a police officer’s job is telling a family they have lost a loved one as a result of one foolish decision – a loss that could have been prevented. We know there will be many gatherings this holiday season and that’s why officers across the province are dedicated to keeping impaired drivers off our roads.”

“We want everyone to enjoy a safe holiday season with their family and friends,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s President and CEO. “Ask yourself if it’s your turn to be the designated driver. Whether you’re attending a holiday get-together or meeting friends to watch a game, share the responsibility to help your friends and family get home safely.”

ICBC supports CounterAttack through an education campaign and funding for enhanced police enforcement and promotes the use of designated drivers with businesses, sports facilities and community groups to help prevent impaired driving and make B.C.’s roads safer for everyone.

ICBC also lends support to Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service in 13 communities across B.C. that provides safe rides home to drivers who have been drinking or feel unfit to drive during the holiday season.

For holiday season driving tips and more on the CounterAttack campaign, visit


December statistics

* During the month of December, an average of five people are killed in crashes where impaired driving is a contributing factor.

* During the month of December, an average of 30 people are killed and 7,100 are injured in approximately 26,000 crashes in B.C.


Regional statistics

* Every December, an average of 4,700 people are injured in 16,000 crashes in the Lower Mainland.

* Every December, an average of 400 people are injured in 1,800 crashes in the North Central region.

* Every December, an average of 1,100 people are injured in 3,800 crashes in the Southern Interior.

* Every December, an average of 930 people are injured in 3,500 crashes on Vancouver Island.


Annual impaired driving statistics

* On average, 95 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in B.C. every year.

* On average, 26 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Lower Mainland every year.

* On average, 31 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Southern Interior every year.

* On average, 16 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on Vancouver Island every year.

* On average, 23 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in North Central B.C. every year.


* Crashes and injured victims from ICBC data (2008 to 2012); fatal victims from police data (2008 to 2012). Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.