Police have stepped up their efforts to combat drunk driving in Red Deer.
Sgt. Bob Bell, in charge of Red Deer city RCMP traffic section, said on Monday that the Check Stop program is run much more frequently in December.
“We’re running our program every week and so far we’ve caught numerous impaired drivers,” said Bell, who said if the RCMP and their partners the Alberta Sheriff’s Department had more manpower, the number of arrests would increase. He said RCMP members from neighbouring detachments will be brought into to bolster the ranks during the stops.
Bell said during the majority of the year police, run a large Check Stop about every other week.
Police also check for numerous other violations.
“We’ll be rotating our stop locations but we run them for several hours into the late morning,” he added.
He also said police have issued more 24-hour suspensions to drivers when an officer suspects a driver’s physical or mental ability has been affected by alcohol, drugs or other substances.
In addition to the 24-hour suspension, the driver’s vehicle is towed and impounded and that costs the owner money to get it back.
Bell said drunk driving is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada.
Booze is involved in nearly 40 per cent of all motor vehicle fatalities in Canada, he said, and one in every 33 drivers on Canadian roads at night are drunk.
In Alberta in 2008, some 107 people were killed and 1,881 injured in crashes where alcohol was involved, said Red Deer Const. Sabrina Grunow.
“There are too many irresponsible drivers who think they can drink alcohol and still drive safely,” Grunow said.
An average of 110 people a year were killed between 2004 to 2008 in Alberta during collisions involving alcohol.
Young drivers less than 19 years of age are 251 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision with a blood alcohol concentration in excess of .15 mg per cent. The legal limit is .08.