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HomeNewsImpaired Driving Incidents Increase In Lloydminster, Trend Downwards Provincially

Impaired Driving Incidents Increase In Lloydminster, Trend Downwards Provincially

Impaired driving incidents in Lloydminster increased for the first time since in five years according to Statistics Canada Police Reported Crime Statistics.

In 2016, there were 279 incidents, climbing 20 incidents from the year before. This is still much lower than the highest amount of 392, which was recorded in 2012.

In Alberta, the numbers have been trending downwards for the past nine years. In 2016, Alberta had 12,191 incidents. Impaired driving incidents have also been trending downwards in Saskatchewan for the past five, with 6,377 recorded in 2016.

Nationally, incidents have also been decreasing since 2011. In 2016, 70,509 incidents were recorded, over 1,300 less than the year before.

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Andrew Murie, the CEO of MADD Canada attributes the downward trend to many factors.

“Both the provinces and the federal government have toughened up the various penalties for impaired driving and I think finally people are getting the message. We’ve had some terrible crashes that have killed families and I think the public has finally come around to not accepting impaired driving and also another big thing that has happened across the country is if people see a suspected impaired driver they call 911.”

Murie says to further reduce the numbers he would like mandatory screening become law. Currently police can only ask for a roadside breath sample if they have reasonable grounds to do so; mandatory screening would be mainly used a stationary checkstops and have every driver provide a breath sample.

A problem that Murie is anticipating, is the legalization of marijuana.

“We strongly suspect is what we’re going to see is a continued decline in alcohol impaired fatalities, deaths and charges but a great upsurge in the drug impaired ones.”

He adds that as long as governments invest money in the oral fluid screening devices for police and if there are some campaigns before legalization, they won’t “have to spend 30 years like we have with alcohol,” combating impaired driving.

Drug impaired driving violations have been on the rise in Lloydminster since 2012. In 2016 there were 16 incidents, four more than the year before. Provincially, incidents in Saskatchewan have been getting lower for the past three years. In Alberta, there was a slight jump this year. Across the country, the numbers did rise to a total of 3,098 drug-impaired driving violations in 2016.

To anyone considering driving impaired, Murie says “it’s not worth it. You don’t want to change your life forever and you don’t want to change somebody else’s life forever. The alternatives are very low cost, minimal and it’s the right decision to make.”

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