Dec. 2nd is National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day, and Red Deer RCMP are kicking off the holiday season with a series of roving checkstops and patrols that begin on Dec. 1st and continue through to the New Year.
Between November 5th to 17th RCMP on patrol arrested seven impaired drivers in Red Deer; five men and two women. Police officers located five of them as they drove erratically – one at night without lights on, two as they drove the wrong way on one-way streets. A sixth impaired driver was arrested after a citizen reported them, and the seventh was arrested after a single-vehicle collision in which the vehicle rolled and the passenger was injured.
“Red Deer RCMP will be out in full force over the holiday season working to locate and arrest impaired drivers and keep the roads safe for everyone,” said Sgt. Kevin Halwa of the Red Deer RCMP. “Our police officers have received awards for their leadership in putting record numbers of impaired drivers before the courts over the past few years – if you choose to drive impaired, your luck is going to run out.”
Red Deer RCMP have a strong focus on impaired driving throughout the year, but during the holiday season those efforts become even more focused through increased checkstops and active patrols using marked and unmarked police vehicles. As well as testing drivers for impairment by alcohol, Red Deer RCMP use certified Drug Recognition Experts who are trained to identify and charge drivers impaired by street drugs, prescription drugs, or a combination of intoxicating substances.
“No one plans to get arrested for impaired driving, or, worse, to take a life while driving impaired. And it’s too late, after you’ve been arrested, to realize you should have known better,” said Halwa. “This holiday season, plan ahead. Making the wrong choice could ruin what is supposed to be a joyous time of year.”
Every year, the RCMP see an increase in concerned citizens reporting suspected impaired drivers. This year, Red Deer RCMP ask party hosts, friends and family members to take even more action by preventing those drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place. It can be a difficult conversation to have, but the consequences of staying silent have the potential to be deadly. Plan ahead and use taxis, public transit or a designated driver, and be sure to look out for each other if you see someone making the wrong decision.
Provincial penalties for driving after you have consumed alcohol or drugs:
· If you have a Graduated Drivers Licence (GDL), you are not to consume ANY alcohol before driving; if a roadside test shows 1 mg or more of alcohol in your body, you will immediately lose your licence for one month, face a mandatory court appearance and have the vehicle you are driving seized for a minimum of seven days, regardless of whether you or someone else is the registered owner.
· If a roadside test is completed while you’re behind the wheel and your reading is between 50 mg and 80 mg of alcohol in your body, you will immediately lose your licence for a minimum of 72 hrs and have the vehicle you are driving seized for a minimum of three days.
· If you are charged with Impaired Driving or Driving While Over .08, you will immediately lose your license until the court proceeding are completed, which could take months or longer and may result in jail time. As well, the vehicle you are driving will be seized for a minimum of three days.