Langley RCMP CounterAttack collars drivers

Drivers passing through a Langley RCMP road check on Friday night saw a poster with the photos of dozens of people killed by drunk drivers.

Markita and Victor Kaulius lost their daughter Kassandra on May 3, 2011 to a drunk driver. 

“All the hopes and dreams that you have for your child… it is life changing,” Markita said of what her family and others have gone through.

Markita is now the president of Families For Justice, which advocates for tougher penalties for drunk drivers who cause fatal collisions. Their members include dozens of family members who have lost a child, parent, or sibling to impaired drivers.

Markita said the group has been pushing for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for impaired driving causing death.

They are also asking for changes to the Criminal Code to create a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

As the Kaulius family put up their poster on the 203rd Street rail overpass, members of the Langley RCMP pulled over drivers heading both north and south. Most of the drivers were let through quickly, but a few were asked if they’d been drinking.

Markita was pleased to see a roadside CounterAttack check in Langley.

“I really am glad that they are [checking drivers], because it’s all about keeping the public safe,” said Markita.

There are still too many people who think it’s okay to drink and drive, said Markita.

She noted that in the first five months of this year, police around the province handed out 7,944 forms of temporary or immediate roadside driving prohibitions.

According to statistics from IBC, an average of 10 people are killed in impaired driving-related crashes every summer in the Lower Mainland alone.

On average, 96 people die every year in B.C. from impaired driving crashes, and it remains one of the leading causes of fatal collisions. About 29 per cent of all fatal collisions are linked to impaired driving.

Markita and her group has met with Canadian Minister of Justice Peter McKay in February, and were told to expect some changes to the laws by 2015.

She said she believes everyone has the right to get home safely.

ICBC recommends planning for a safe ride home in advance, whether by using a designated driver, calling a taxi, or taking transit.

At the road check, most drivers were heading through with a smile and a wave from the officers, but between the seven hours roadblocks were in place at 204th, and on 88th Avenue, the RCMP issued one 90 day immediate roadside prohibition, a three day roadside prohibition, a 12-hour suspension, and also dinged nine drivers for not using seatbelts, two for using cellphones, two for speeding, several others for various traffic violations, and 11 for disobeying restrictions on their licenses, mostly new drivers.

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