Massive road safety enforcement effort nets significant results

B.C., Nelson, Salmo, BC Highway Patrol, Road Safety Unit, Traffic Patrol

2023-07-27 12:38 PDT

Over the past two weeks, BC Highway Patrol has been working hard to keep the roads safe while attendees traveled to and from the Shambhala music festival near Salmo. During the week leading up to the festival BC Highway Patrol members took three impaired drivers and three prohibited drivers off the road, had 447 contacts related to speeding of which 37 were excessive speed (more than 40 kilometers over the speed limit), and 55 other violations. Of note, one of the excessive speed violations was a tractor trailer unit travelling through the reduced speed area at the entrance to Shambhala. Another excessive speed violator led to a drug trafficking investigation. The vehicles driven by all of the excessive speed violators were impounded for 7 days.

On Monday and Tuesday following the event, police focussed on impaired and fatigued drivers and removed a staggering 57 impaired drivers from the road and issued 162 violation tickets in relation to a variety of offences from vehicle defects to unlicensed drivers and uninsured vehicles. BC Highway Patrol brought in Alexa’s Bus and impaired driving specialist investigators from around the province who completed 85 standardized field sobriety tests, 20 drug recognition evaluations, and 11 approved screening device tests.

Unfortunately, many drivers not attending the festival were caught up in the congestion during enforcement activities. Many of those who expressed their frustration were not aware that Shambhala is a private event on private land. There is no mechanism in the Regional District of Central Kootenay to require involvement and safety planning with law enforcement nor does the Shambhala organization pay for any of the extra public services required including police services. Inspector Chad Badry, the officer in charge of BC Highway Patrol in the region said, We really appreciated the patience of many of the people caught up in the road checks that had not attended the festival, particularly those who took the time to express their appreciation to our officers for taking the extra effort to keep our roads safe.

These statistics are frightening considering we were only able to check a small portion of the people attending the festival and these people were aware there would be police road checks. While I’m sure many had a good time in the festival, it is unacceptable to put everyone on the roadways at risk said Inspector Badry about the high number of impaired drivers. The RCMP takes impaired and dangerous driving infractions seriously and has always remained dedicated to removing impaired drivers from the roads.

Released by:

Insp. Chad Badry
OIC Kootenay Highway Patrol
BC Highway Patrol
1010 Second Street, Nelson, BC V1L 6A2
Office: 250-354-5146
Fax: 250-354-5126


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