Above: Morinville RCMP, CPOS, firefighters and volunteers do a Candy Cane Check-Stop Thursday afternoon. RCMP throughout the province did the real deal Dec. 4. – Lucie Roy Photo

by Morinville News staff

RCMP released numbers from their Dec. 4 province-wide check-stop blitz Thursday. Police say results indicate drivers are still getting behind the wheel when they are in no shape to drive. RCMP conducted check-stop operations in 259 locations within local RCMP jurisdictions and on Alberta highways Dec. 4, stopping more than 20,500 vehicles.

The blitz resulted in 46 motorists charged with Impaired by Alcohol, 73 roadside suspensions due to alcohol, and 34 roadside suspensions due to drugs. Although impaired charges were down, both roadside suspensions were up by roughly 70 each over 2014.

“We are seeing more drivers behind the wheel who are impaired by drugs,” said Superintendent Ian Lawson, Officer-in-Charge Alberta RCMP Traffic Services in a release Thursday. “Albertans of all ages need to understand that driving after using drugs, even prescription drugs, can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving.”

Police say traffic safety research suggests that drug-impaired driving is becoming as prevalent as alcohol-impaired driving, and that drug-involved crashes are more likely than alcohol-involved crashes to occur during the daytime hours on weekdays. The RCMP is seeing this trend on Alberta’s roadways.

The blitz was part of a Canada-wide RCMP enforcement campaign aimed at taking impaired drivers off the roads and raising public awareness of this highly preventable crime.

The RCMP will be conducting check-stops throughout the holiday season, as impaired driving is provincial RCMP focus in December. If the police determine a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle has been impaired by alcohol or drugs, even if their blood alcohol concentration is below .08, they can be charged criminally with impaired driving.

Morinville will conduct their annual Candy Cane Check Stop Thursday afternoon and evening on 100 Avenue and 100 Street, as a friendly reminder about safe driving habits during the holiday season.

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