The holiday season is fast approaching and so is the drinking.

In response, police departments across B.C. are beginning their CounterAttack roadchecks program.

In Fort St. John, officers will be out conducting both stationary check stops – where police stop every vehicle along a certain street – and roaming patrols – where police will be on the lookout for impaired drivers, says Corporal Tom Woodall with Peace Region Traffic Services.

Starting Saturday, Woodall says the RCMP will begin its formal check stops, which will continue every weekend until after the New Year.

He says officers will be out on city streets every weekend as well as on rural roads monitoring for impaired drivers.

Drinking and driving can have serious consequences.

In the province, those consequences can range from a ‘warn’ to a ‘fail’. Under B.C.’s new drinking and driving law, someone whose blood alcohol level is between 0.05 and 0.08 can receive a warn and an immediate three-day driving suspension. Anyone with a blood alcohol level above 0.08 can receive an immediate 90-day driving suspension and a 30-day vehicle impoundment.

According to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, between 2005 and 2008, an average 133 people were killed and 3,400 people were injured due to impaired drivers each year.

However, impaired driving is not simply limited to having a high blood alcohol content, it also includes driving while on drugs or on certain medications.

Woodall says there are many ways to avoid drinking and driving, including having a sober designated driver, using a taxi or taking advantage of a courtesy vehicle. He says many of the bars in the city have courtesy vehicles to ensure patrons have a safe ride home.