The dangers of drinking and driving have been the focus of many ad campaigns, school presentations and even a week long national campaign, but RCMP constables are still confused as to why people make the choice to drink and drive.
Lloydminster has the fifth highest impaired driving rates in the country, according to the Crime Severity index. In 2016, there were 279 drunk driving incidents just in the City. Constable Mike Hibbs says that there are so many options for getting home while impaired that driving shouldn’t be on someone’s radar.
“For example taxis, staying at a friends house, getting a designated driver and stuff like that. It’s just so easy to get yourself [from] point A to point B without putting yourself in that jeopardy and other people in jeopardy by getting behind the wheel.”
Hibbs adds that people with GDL licenses have an even stricter zero limit for impairment. Any impairment will lead to a 30 day suspension and the vehicle will be impounded for seven days on the first offence and would increase if there was another offence. Fully licensed drivers can face a three day driving suspension and their car being impounded if they blow between between 50 to 80 milligrams. Anything more than that, or someone with a previous offense could face these penalties until after it has been in court.
The legalization of marijuana, which is expected in a few months, has many people concerned. Hibbs says they already use Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) in roadside sobriety tests when deemed necessary.
“We have some very healthy numbers of DREs in the province and we’re increasing those numbers as we get closer to the date. So we’re prepared and we’re hoping that people don’t use drugs and drive but we’ll certainly be prepared to deal with it if it comes around.”
National Impaired Driving Week, which is nationwide and provides education and risk prevention in many communities, runs March 18 to 24.
With files from Tricia Kindleman, 2DayFM Grande Prairie