The Vancouver Police Department is kicking off its annual campaign to raise awareness about impaired driving by teaming up with ICBC and the provincial government this December.

Police are warning drivers that CounterAttack road checks will be taking place across B.C. throughout next month. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the program.

“The CounterAttack program is a remarkable initiative that has helped save countless lives, but we still have work to do,” said Mary Polak, minister of transportation and infrastructure. “The reality is 31 per cent of fatal crashes that occur every year in B.C. involve impaired driving. These are tragedies we can all help to prevent – when you celebrate this holiday season with your family and friends, make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home.”

According to CounterAttack, an average of 113 lives are lost each year and impaired driving remains the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.

Authorities are urging holiday revelers to arrange for a designated driver, take taxi, use transit or call a sober friend if they need a ride. Another option is to call Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service in 13 communities across the province that provides safe rides home for drivers and passengers.

The Ministry of Justice announced last week that B.C.’s tough impaired driving laws have saved 104 lives since they were introduced two years ago.

The ministry said drinking and driving has dropped significantly since the new roadside prohibition program was introduced. The number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths has decreased to an average of 62 a year, down 46 per cent.

In B.C., drivers who are caught with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 or more face immediate vehicle impoundment, licence prohibition and fines up to $4,000.