BC Highway Patrol says the popular Shambhala Music Festival in Salmo, B.C. kept officers busy over the past two weeks, pulling over hundreds of drivers and issuing dozens of tickets.
In the week leading up to the music festival, which ran from July 20 to 24, BCHP says it took three allegedly impaired drivers and three prohibited drivers off the road and had 447 “contacts” related to speeding.
Thirty-seven of those drivers were speeding excessively—going more than 40 kilometres per hour over the speed limit—and had their vehicles impounded for seven days. BCHP says it handed out 55 tickets for other violations.
One excessive speed violation led to a drug trafficking investigation, according to BCHP.
On Monday and Tuesday, police say they shifted focus to impaired and fatigued drivers leaving the festival.
Officers took 57 allegedly impaired drivers off the road and handed out 162 tickets for a “variety of offences” including vehicle defects, unlicensed drivers and uninsured vehicles.
BCHP says it conducted several impairment tests including 85 standardized field sobriety tests, 20 drug recognition evaluations and 11 approved screening device tests.
“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,” Insp. Chad Badry with BCHP said in a news release.
“While I’m sure many had a good time in the festival, it is unacceptable to put everyone on the roadways at risk.”
Badry also noted that drivers not attending the festival were caught up in the congestion during the mass enforcement, and thanked them for their patience.
“Many of those who expressed their frustration were not aware that Shambhala is a private event on private land,” he said, adding that the festival does not pay for the extra policing on the highways before and after the event.
“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,” he said.