Police noticing more designated drivers

Red Deer police were busy on the weekend catching suspected drunk drivers and rewarding designated drivers.

Red Deer police were busy on the weekend catching suspected drunk drivers and rewarding designated drivers.

Sgt. Bob Bell of Red Deer city RCMP traffic section said on Monday that five drivers were charged with impaired driving during a Saturday CheckStop at Springfield Avenue and 32nd Street.

“We’ve been catching about four or five impaired drivers each time at our holiday stops and some nights we don’t catch that many, like one on one of the nights,” Bell said.

However, Bell said when they charge just one person, that’s not all that bad.

“We’ve noticed a lot more designated drivers out taking people home and we’ve also seen a lot more people taking cabs who are impaired and had been driving before drinking.”

Bell also said officers handed out several reward tickets to designated drivers on Saturday.

The rewards consist of free tickets for the Red Deer Rebel and Brandon Wheat Kings Western Hockey League game on Dec. 28 at the Centrium.

“We asked the drivers if they wanted a free ticket for the game and they were mostly quite excited to get one,” Bell said.

RCMP altered their shift schedule to ensure they had about eight officers at each CheckStop, augmented by Alberta Sheriff’s Department officers.

Bell said in addition to impaired driving charges, officers laid other charges for various Traffic Safety Act violations, as well as for drug possession.

“This past weekend, we had one driver who tried to run after he was pulled over but we chased him down and got him arrested,” Bell said.

Two weeks ago, another suspected driver tried to speed off but was quickly captured.

Bell said they arrested another suspected drunk driver who had been followed by an officer.

“The suspect went through two red lights while the member followed him with his emergency lights on.

“The suspect then drove right up to our stop, where he was arrested,” Bell said.

RCMP plan to run mini CheckStops through this week and between Christmas and New Year’s.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com