The holidays are here and, for many of us, this is a special time to relax and celebrate with loved ones. The Alberta RCMP encourages Albertans to enjoy the season to the fullest while keeping in mind additional safety risks associated with the holidays, particularly when it comes to impaired driving.
On Dec. 1, 2018, Alberta RCMP participated, along with Alberta Sheriffs, in National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day, a Canada-wide initiative that brings together RCMP officers and Alberta Sheriffs on patrol to remove impaired drivers from the road. A total of 11,895 vehicles were checked. On this day alone, Alberta RCMP laid 23 charges for impaired operation by alcohol and two charges for impaired operation by drug.
From Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2018, Alberta RCMP laid 3,018 charges for impaired operation by alcohol and 135 charges for impaired operation by a drug. Both figures have respectively decreased from 3,315 and 148 charges over the same period in 2017. We can’t allow these numbers to continue to exist.
Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone is driving impaired. Possible signs of an impaired driver include: weaving from one side of lane to the other; taking extremely wide turns; driving at inconsistent speeds, without headlights, or with windows open in cold or harsh weather; failing to lower high beams or leaving turn signals on; approaching or leaving intersections too quickly or slowly.
This holiday season, Alberta RCMP also encourages you to practice the following safety and prevention tips. Use them to start conversations with friends and family so you can all stay safe while celebrating:
· Lock it up! This means locking vehicles, doors to your homes, sheds, garages and sliding glass doors.
· Remove keys, cash and valuables from your vehicles. Never leave them idling when unoccupied.
· Park in well-lit areas with pedestrian traffic.
· Maximize visibility by keeping your exterior well-lit and your hedges trimmed.
· Keep a home inventory list through property marking, recording serial numbers or taking photos.
· Keep vacation plans off social media. Make arrangements for mail pick-up. An overflowing mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home and thieves may be tempted to check that mailbox.
· Get involved with your local citizen-led crime prevention association. Join a crime prevention community group such as Citizens on Patrol or Rural Crime Watch.
“This holiday season, there are many safe options available for you to get around – take public transit, call a cab, or arrange for a designated driver. Always make sure you know how you will be getting home safely at the end of the night and encourage others to do the same,” said Supt. Rick Gardner, Alberta Sheriffs. “We all have a responsibility to make the right driving decisions to ensure our roads are safe for all users. Working together, we can make a positive impact on road safety this holiday season.”
“Checkstops serve as a visible reminder to the public that it is never okay to drive impaired and to help ensure everyone gets home safely. The RCMP will be focusing on identifying and removing impaired drivers from our roads throughout the holidays,” said Supt. Gary Graham, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “Please take time to plan for a sober ride to and from your destinations this holiday season. When we all take steps to prevent impaired driving, we have the ability to save lives and ensure a happier holiday season for everyone involved.”
The Alberta RCMP will continue to work with Alberta Sheriffs and other law enforcement and safety partners to ensure Albertans make the right driving decisions. Follow our #TrafficSafety tips on Facebook @RCMPinAlberta and Twitter @RCMPAlberta.
-Submitted by RCMP K Division