December 6, 2013 7:40 pm
Updated: December 8, 2013 7:09 pm

Christmas checkstop campaign in full swing throughout Capital Region

Edmonton police hold a CheckStop Thursday, December 5, 2013.

Global News

EDMONTON – With the Christmas season in full swing and several holiday parties being held in and around the city, police across the Capital Region are reminding motorists to enjoy their celebrations responsibly and not drink and drive.

“Impaired driving is a careless and avoidable act that police take very seriously, and as a community we need to keep the message out there that it’s unacceptable,” said Sgt. Conrad Moschansky with the Edmonton Police Service Impaired Driving Countermeasures Unit.

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The EPS has kicked-off its annual Christmas checkstop campaign. While checkstops are held throughout the year, officers will be increasing their presence on city streets this holiday season.

“Impaired drivers pose a risk to other drivers and pedestrians. And I am here to tell you that if you are out there drinking and driving you will be caught and you will be charged,” added Acting Superintendent Gary Godziuk with the EPS.

Every year in Canada, about 70,000 people are injured or killed in impaired driving related collisions. In Edmonton this year, impaired driving was a factor in 15 per cent of injury collisions and 33 per cent of fatal collisions.

In 2012, Edmonton police handed out 2,213 impaired driving charges and 1,314 roadside suspensions. So far this year, police in the city have handed out 1,697 impaired driving charges and 766 roadside suspensions.

READ MORE: Long weekend checkstop nabs third highest number of impaired drivers in 2013

“A lot of our officers here are here on their days off, they’re here in the cold all night, away from their families, so that they can make sure Edmontonians make it home okay to theirs,” said Leila Moulder, president of the Edmonton and area MADD chapter.

Moulder wants everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season, but encourages everyone to plan ahead.

“We know everybody’s out and there’s parties and fun to be had, but please just be responsible. Make a plan, leave your keys at home and do not get behind the wheel impaired.”

“Remind people to drive sober,” added Moschansky. “Or if they are planning to have a few drinks, encourage them to take a cab, or a bus, or make other arrangements to get home safely.”

READ MORE: MADD launches Red Ribbon campaign as part of its fight against impaired driving

RCMP will also be holding upwards of 157 checkstops in communities and on major roadways throughout Alberta. Hundreds of officers will be involved, as part of a Canada-wide enforcement initiative aimed at taking impaired drivers off the road.

“(The) checkstop blitz will take some dangerous drivers off Alberta roads,” said Superintendent Howard Eaton, Officer-in-Charge of “K” Division Traffic Services. “The sheer number of checkstops… will also serve as a very visible reminder to Albertans to make the right choice before getting behind the wheel.”

Anyone who sees or suspects an impaired driver is urged to call 911 as soon as it’s safe to do so.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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