(Image / Tom Brenner)

The Nanaimo RCMP say they are “cautiously hopeful” about the safety of Nanaimo streets after officers found a “significant reduction” in impaired drivers this holiday season.

Police believe that the use of designated drivers is one major reason why impaired driving reduced in 2018.

“Being a DD means not drinking, at all, and our officers were very impressed to see this happening,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP in a release.

Police say that between December 15th, 2018 and January 1st, 2019, only eleven drivers were stopped for impaired driving (either by alcohol or drugs).

Of the hundreds of vehicles checked throughout December, police say that only eight motorists were issued 90 day immediate roadside prohibitions (IRP).

Half of these IRPs, four out of the eight, were issued on the morning of New Year’s Day.

In same time period in 2017, 50% more IRPs were issued.

In total, twelve 90 day IRP’s were handed out. Three of these were refusals, two were 3 day IRP’s, and one was a 24-hour suspension.

From these twelve IRPs, two criminal code impaired investigations were initiated.

“The overwhelming majority of drivers were very thankful and appreciative of the time and effort our officers were putting in to ensure they got home safely,” added O’Brien.

Nanaimo RCMP reminds commuters that if they suspect an impaired driver, they should call 911 immediately.

“If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road when safe to do so, make the call and provide information on the vehicle plate number, description of the vehicle and the last know direction of travel.”

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