Red Deer, Alberta – Red Deer RCMP have arrested four impaired drivers since July 1 as part of the provincial monthly traffic focus on impaired driving, and will continue that focus all month long through targeted campaigns and everyday patrols by general duty and Traffic members in marked and unmarked police vehicles.
Red Deer RCMP arrested three impaired drivers thanks to reports from the public, and arrested a fourth after RCMP on patrol in the downtown observed a vehicle swerving between lanes in the early morning hours of July 4.
“All four drivers arrested so far this month were males between the ages of 29 and 63, and all were identified by their erratic driving patterns,” says Sgt. Kevin Halwa of the Red Deer RCMP Traffic unit. “One of the suspects had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit, and another had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit. One of the suspects we arrested was already a suspended driver.”
Red Deer RCMP have a strong focus on impaired driving throughout the year, but during the summer months those efforts become even more focused through increased checkstops and active patrols. As well as testing drivers for impairment by alcohol, Red Deer RCMP use certified Drug Recognition Experts who are trained to identify and charge drivers impaired by street drugs, prescription drugs, or a combination of intoxicating substances, which can include the effects of alcohol combined with other drugs.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent impaired driving and the tragedies that accompany it, and the RCMP thank those members of the public who report impaired drivers when they see them leaving bars or observe them driving dangerously,” says Halwa. “There are all kinds of alternatives to driving impaired, including taxis, public transit or having a designated driver. If someone is impaired, it is the responsibility of those around them to stop them from driving. It can be a difficult conversation to have but, if you say nothing and someone gets hurt, living with yourself will be even harder.”
Provincial penalties for driving after you have consumed alcohol or drugs:
- If you have a Graduated Drivers Licence (GDL), you are not to consume ANY alcohol or drugs before driving; if a roadside test shows 1 mg or more of alcohol in your body, you will immediately lose your licence for one month, and have the vehicle you are driving seized for a minimum of seven days, regardless of whether you, a family member or someone else is the registered owner. A GDL means zero tolerance.
- If a roadside test is completed while you’re behind the wheel and your reading is between 50 mg and 80 mg of alcohol in your body, you will immediately lose your licence for a minimum of 72 hrs and have the vehicle you are driving seized for a minimum of three days. The length of time that your licence gets suspended and your vehicle seized will increase with subsequent roadside sanctions.
- If you are charged with Impaired Driving or Driving While Over .08, you will immediately lose your licence for 90 days, and then have the option of keeping the suspension or paying to have an interlock device installed on your vehicle, and driving with a restricted driver’s licence. Court proceedings may also increase the licence suspension time and may result in jail time. As well, the vehicle you are driving, regardless of who the registered owner is, will be seized for a minimum of three days.
You can report suspected impaired drivers by calling 911 when it is safe to do so, including the vehicle description, licence plate, direction of travel and a description of the driver.
Sgt. Kevin Halwa
Red Deer RCMP