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‘It’s 100% preventable’: Winnipeg police say drugs, age also issue with impaired driving

‘It’s 100% preventable’: Winnipeg police say drugs, age also issue with impaired driving

WINNIPEG — It’s the time of season for holiday socials and dinner parties, meaning Winnipeg police are setting up check stops to make sure drivers don’t get behind the wheel while impaired and on drugs.

Over the weekend, Global News went on an exclusive check stop ride along with the Winnipeg police. Constable Chris Wingfield, traffic collision investigator with the police, said the landscape of impairment is vastly changing to include so much more than just alcohol.

“It is changing somewhat from just the alcohol to more so with drugs,” said Wingfield.

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“If you make that decision to drink and drive, I’m going to be out there looking for you,” he added.

RELATED: Winnipeg police release names of those charged with impaired driving

Winnipeg Police set up their check stop Saturday night.
Winnipeg Police set up their check stop Saturday night. Zahra Premji/Global News

With the introduction of fentanyl and carfentanil in to Winnipeg, he worries that it’s only a matter of time before he starts seeing drivers high on one or the others while they’re behind the wheel.

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RELATED: Winnipeg police want impaired drivers off the roads

“I’m sure it’s just a matter of time because it just seems to me the numbers seem to be on the rise for those types of drugs,” he said.

As the type of impairment continues to change, and more drugs enter the Winnipeg community, officers say the technology to detect these impairments are on their way.

Winnipeg Police pulling cars over at their pre-festive check stop.
Winnipeg Police pulling cars over at their pre-festive check stop. Zahra Premji / Global News

Wingfield said it’s not just the type of impairment that’s changed over his years on the police force. He said it’s the age of drivers that are being pulled over for impairment that’s changing.

“The amount of young drivers I arrest for impaired driving are not the norm. The norm is the age range probably between 30 and 60,” Wingfield said.

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It seems the education and push for having a designated driver is working on the younger generation, but sadly not so much for an older generation that is at times set in its ways, he said.

“I find that most middle aged people do more drinking and driving than younger people,” he said.

Wingfield said the reality is that impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable and officers wish more people understood the tragedy and dangers associated with it.

The Winnipeg police will be out in the roads for their annual festive season check stop. On average, police set up a check stop once a week around the city.