August 28, 2014 5:05 pm

Impaired driving cases still far too high: RCMP

MONCTON, N.B. – New Brunswick RCMP’s Traffic Services Unit have charged over 523 people for impaired driving so far this year, a number that’s still far too high, says Sgt. André Pepin.

It’s little improvement over the last year when impaired driving charges were up 35 per cent in the Codiac region.

But Pepin said Thursday RCMP are getting more calls from citizens identifying an impaired driver.

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“If you believe the person is impaired then you may save a life so don’t be afraid of calling,” Pepin said.

The numbers are little comfort to Kali O’Dell.

O’Dell’s parents were killed by a drunk driver near Salisbury, N.B. in 2006. She and her little brother were instantly orphaned.

 “Living without my parents is absolutely terrifying,” she said.

“They missed my prom, they missed my graduation, they are never going to meet my boyfriend.”

O’Dell, now 20, has been speaking out publicly against impaired driving for years. But the latest figures seem to show people are not listening.

Last year, RCMP launched a program called Team O’Dell, aimed to improve enforcement.

“They know it’s wrong and should not be doing it, it’s just plain stupidity at this point,” O’Dell said.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving say the numbers could show more people are getting caught.

“Probably 50 per cent of charges that are resulting now are from anonymous calls from people from their cells phones,” said Scott Kennie, with MADD.

If you observe a potential impaired driver, RCMP ask you to call 911, state your location, the vehicle’s description and their direction of travel.

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