Victoria Day weekend leads to crackdown on impaired driving

WATCH ABOVE:¬†Police caught 10 impaired drivers overnight in the Halifax-region. The first long weekend of the summer often leads to an up-tick in drunk driving offences, which is why police are out in full force this weekend. Global’s Marieke Walsh reports.

HALIFAX РCelebrated as the unofficial start of Summer, the Victoria Day weekend also comes with reminders from police about the dangers of drunk driving.

Halifax Regional Police and Halifax district RCMP will have checkpoints set up across the region Saturday, to remind motorists about road safety and enforce impaired driving laws.

Overnight on Friday, Halifax district RCMP dealt with six impaired driving incidents, said Sgt. Alan Mundle. The RCMP are currently conducting four impaired driving investigations and issued two seven-day suspensions as a result.

Despite decades of awareness campaigns warning about the dangers of impaired driving, the number of people charged in Halifax in the last few years, has stayed steady. RCMP statistics for Nova Scotia show in 2013, 995 people were charged with impaired driving. In 2014 that number was up slightly to 1,023.

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“As the first long weekend going into summer, traffic volumes increase across the province so we often see an increase in collisions on our roadways,” said RCMP Insp. Bernardine Chapman, in a press release. “In Nova Scotia, distracted driving is the leading cause of fatal and serious injury collisions, followed closely by impaired driving.

The provincial government also issued a pre-emptive reminder to residents about road safety leading up to the long weekend.

“I know many Nova Scotians will be hitting the road this long weekend,” said Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan, in a press release. “If you’re planning a road trip, please put down your hand-held device, wear your seatbelt, watch your speed.”

“I wish this could go without saying, never drink or take drugs and drive.”

In April alone, Halifax Regional Police and Halifax district RCMP charged 62 people with impaired driving offences. Of these incidents, 30 were identified by police at traffic stops and checkpoints, 11 were identified after a collision had occurred and 21 were called in by concerned citizens.