Police looking for impaired drivers this month

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by Morinville News Staff

The Morinville RCMP will be focusing on impaired drivers during the month of August, part of the detachment’s ongoing efforts to keep area roads safe by participating with provincial sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies. Each month, police have a particular traffic safety focus. In July, police kept their eyes on occupant restraints, particularly drivers not wearing them. Although August’s focus is on impaired drivers due to increased traffic, it is something the detachment is vigilant about year round.

“Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada,” says Morinville RCMP Staff Sergeant Riz Suleman. “It is something that is certainly very preventable. It is something that we, as police officers, need to be out on the street enforcing as much as possible.”

In the past five years, 8600 drivers have been convicted of impaired driving in Alberta.

Drivers with a Criminal Code charge (blood alcohol concentration greater than .08) have their licences immediately suspended until the charge is resolved, and their vehicle is seized for three days on a first charge. Second and subsequent charges result in immediate licence suspension until the criminal charge is resolved and a seven-day vehicle seizure.

Additionally, addictions assessment may be required.

If convicted, drivers licences are suspended for one year on a first offence, three years on a second offence, and five years on a third offence.

Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .05 to .08 receive three-day licence and vehicle suspension on a first offence. They receive 15-day licence and a seven-day vehicle seizure on a second offence along with remedial course and a possible hearing with the Alberta Transportation Safety Board. Third and subsequent offences result in immediate 30-day licence suspensions, seven-day vehicle seizures, remedial course and a mandatory hearing with Alberta Transportation Safety Board.

Police caution parents who let their children who are in the Graduated Driver’s Licence program drive their vehicles.
The program’s zero tolerance results in an immediate 30-day licence suspension and seven-day vehicle seizure.
The hardship of losing the family vehicle because of an impaired child is not grounds for appeal on a vehicle seizure, police say.

In addition to appealing to the public to make wise choices, the Morinville RCMP encourage motorists to assist them in keeping impaired drivers off the road by pulling over and recording vehicle licence plate number of suspected impaired drivers and calling 911.

“The public have an onus, too,” Suleman said. “If they see someone they believe to be impaired, they need to make that call to the police with some information, and let us know what they’re seeing out there. It’s important to work in a partnership with the public.”

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