VANCOUVER -- Drivers heading to festive celebrations this holiday season are being reminded to plan for a safe ride home as ICBC and police launch their annual CounterAttack campaign targeting impaired drivers this weekend.

According to ICBC, impaired driving is still a leading cause of fatal crashes and an average of 68 lives are lost every year in the province.

More than half of the impaired-related crashes occur on the weekend, ICBC says, and police around the province will be setting up road checks to keep impaired drivers off the road throughout December. 

"All too often those who are killed in an impaired driving crash are not the offending driver but truly innocent people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time," said RCMP Supt. Holly Turton at a news conference Wednesday.

"Some may call these tragic events accidents but they are not. These are collisions which are 100 per cent preventable had someone decided to drive sober instead of impaired."

Turton pointed to a tragic incident in June 2018, when 19-year-old Olivia Malcolm was killed after she and her friend pulled over to get something out of the trunk of her car. The two of them were struck from behind by an impaired driver without warning. Malcolm died and her friendly was badly injured. 

"Olivia was well-known in the lacrosse community in the Lower Mainland and her tragic death devastated not only her family, but her boyfriend, his family, Olivia's friends, those who knew her from the lacrosse community and countless other people who knew her," Turton said. 

"In the ensuing months that passed, seasoned investigators with B.C. RCMP Traffic Services Criminal Collision Investigation Team would come to know Olivia as well, as they worked towards building a case against the driver responsible who is now under charge." 

Turton said drivers can expect to see increased road checks throughout the province in December, with police using mandatory alcohol screening, field sobriety testing and drug recognition evaluations to identify and remove impaired drivers.

Even though impaired driving has been on the decline, Turton said even one death is too many. 

"Anybody dying is needless," she said. "We just ask that people make better choices and ensure that they have a ride home."