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RCMP ramping up enforcement on impaired driving

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 11:08 am

RCMP officers conduct a check stop last year. Officers  will be out in full force  December to curb impaired driving.
RCMP officers conduct a check stop last year. Officers will be out in full force December to curb impaired driving.
FILE PHOTO/Rocky View Publishing

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Airdrie RCMP will be stepping up enforcement and handing out three-day suspensions against motorists who are found driving under the influence starting Dec. 1.

The crack down is in conjunction with the Alberta Traffic Safety Plan and will include an increase in check stops, and stiff penalties that will include drivers license suspensions and vehicles being impounded.

“We’re always looking for impaired drivers,” said Airdrie Integrate Traffic Unit (ITU) Cpl. Darrin Turnbull.

“We’re out there daily, but specifically in December we’re well aware of what goes on and history tells us that it’s a month where people find themselves in situations like Christmas parties and social events where alcohol is served.”

The RCMP will be setting up in strategic check stop locations throughout the course of the month and into the new year, with increased enforcement at night and in the afternoon.

Police will have a breathalyzer on site to administer tests; anyone who is found to have between 50 to 100 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood will have their drivers license suspended for three days and their vehicle impounded.

First time offenders can be fined up to $1,000 for impaired driving.

“A driving suspension is issued on the spot,” said Turnbull.

“If they end up being charged, they will automatically lose their license until the matter is resolved in court, which could take up to a year.”

Though enforcement levels are being increased for the holiday season, Turnbull says the ultimate goal is not to have to arrest anyone for impaired driving.

“We don’t want to find anyone who is driving while impaired, the goal of us setting up these check stops is to create a visual deterrent and to let the community know that we’re out there,” said Turnbull.

“There is generally a spike in the number of impaired driving charges laid this time of year, but you will usually see those increases when we step up enforcement levels.”

Turnbull also said check stops will be set up in a manner that will allow them to catch people who think they can get around an RCMP supervised area.

“There will be stops all over the city, not just on main roads,” said Turnbull.

“Some people might think that they can get away with it by sticking to back roads but we’ll be set up strategically so that we can pull these people over as well.”

Some tips to reduce impaired driving include:

· If you are going to a party where you will be drinking, plan your way home beforehand as alcohol can impair your judgment.

· Have phone numbers for local taxi services programmed in to your phone.

· Carpool with a designated driver.

If you see a motorist driving erratically, police encourage you to call 911 from a hands-free phone as soon as possible.


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