By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – RCMP laid another two impaired driving charges over the Oct. 21 weekend, bringing the two weekend total to six. Police issued four impaired charges over the Oct. 14 weekend. These figures do not include additional 24-hour suspensions.
Morinville RCMP Staff Sergeant Mac Richards said approximately 60 impaired charges have been laid to date this year, and that the two week tally is outside the norm.
“The four is high – the two isn’t out of the norm, but it’s more than we want to see for sure,” Richards said. “We’re averaging about seven a month.”
Despite plenty of education about the dangers and consequences of impaired driving, Richards said he is not certain if the message will ever truly get through to some people. “We were lucky that none of these resulted in any fatalities or collisions,” he said of the six impaired charges. “It’s just good police work, but also people phoning in. It’s a common occurrence that people phone in about what they perceive to be impaired drivers.”
Staff Sergeant Richards said people should never be concerned about whether or not to phone police if they suspect someone of driving impaired. The detachment wants to receive those calls. “If it turns out that they’re not [impaired] – they’re tired or poor drivers or there is something wrong with their car, essentially that’s the end of it,” he said. “If it turns out to be nothing, so be it. If it is to the point where you are concerned about their driving [and] whether they are impaired or not, it’s worthy of a phone call.”
Richards said if the driving behaviour is sufficient to grab a citizen’s attention; it is something the RCMP wants to know about. The detachment has been successful in taking many impaired drivers off the road thanks to calls from citizens. “It does work,” he said, adding those who drink and drive need to be aware there are more eyes on what they are doing than merely those of the police. “It’s not just the police you have to be concerned about. Everybody’s concerned about it, and people are taking the initiative to call. Part of being a community is looking out for one another.”