February 5, 2015 5:42 pm

Drunk driving charges in Nova Scotia see small uptick in 2014: RCMP

File Photo / Global News

HALIFAX – RCMP say they did not see a big change in the number of impaired Nova Scotia drivers charged in 2014 over 2013.

Statistics released Thursday show the Mounties charged 1,023 Nova Scotians with impaired driving in 2014, up from 995 in 2013. The number of licenses suspended increased from 614 in 2013 to 723 in 2014.

“People out in the public are still not getting the message that it’s just not socially acceptable to drink and drive,” said RCMP Insp. Bernadine Chapman.

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Officers also tracked the number of non-alcohol-related drug offences, and said 84 drivers were found behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.

“[It] could be cannabis, could be cocaine, it can be prescription drugs,” said Chapman.

RCMP maintain that one of the best tools in their arsenal to track down impaired drivers is the general public. Officers say they’re getting more call than ever from concerned citizens.

“They’re calling it in on a regular basis, and we couldn’t do it without the public,” said Chapman.

“The police are doing everything that they can,” said Susan MacAskill, with MADD Canada.

“But they can’t be everywhere at all times. So having the public play a part and making that call has resulted in very positive results in more drug, alcohol and impaired charges being laid.”

Police say for 2015 they have more crime analysts on staff and more officers trained to detect drivers who are impaired by specific types of drugs.

“We’ll continue doing what we need to do,” said Chapman. “We ask the public that they continue what they are doing.

“Hopefully, down the road, we will see a great decrease.”

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