December 5, 2012 1:45 pm

‘Tis the Season for the holiday checkstop campaign

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The Lethbridge Regional Police Service annual holiday Check Stop campaign starts Thursday and will continue throughout the month of December and into the New Year.

Police are reminding motorists never to drink and drive and anyone who observes a suspected impaired driver is asked to call 911 immediately if it is safe. “We are going to be operating with some discretion when someone makes a 911 call reporting impaired drivers,” says Sgt. Craig Deimuth with the Lethbridge Regional Police’s traffic unit. “We still encourage people to make the call, but don’t follow them too far and spend as little amount of time on the phone as possible.”

Check Stop locations and times will vary throughout Lethbridge and Coaldale. The primary goal of the program is to identify and apprehend impaired drivers but police will also be checking for valid documentation including driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and insurance as well as equipment, liquor and other violations.

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This year tougher penalties are also in effect. Drivers with a Blood Alcohol Concentration over .05 will face an immediate three-day license suspension and three-day vehicle seizure on a first offence. Individuals with a Graduated Driver’s License found with any blood alcohol face an immediate 30-day license suspension and seven day vehicle seizure.

Drivers charged with impaired driving will have their license suspended until the charge is resolved in court. Their vehicle will also be seized – three days on a first offence and seven days for subsequent offences. Upon conviction drivers will also require a mandatory ignition interlock for one year on the first conviction, three years for the second conviction and five years for the third conviction.
During the 2011 Check Stop campaign police charged 16 people with impaired driving. Last year’s efforts also yielded 23 24-hour suspensions, 34 drivers with no operating license, 14 suspended drivers, 31 unregistered and 13 uninsured vehicles, 28 Gaming and Liquor violations, seven Criminal Code charges and 191 provincial statute violations.

Police remind all motorists that consuming alcohol affects your judgment, reaction time and perception. Between 2006 and 2010, on average each year in Alberta more than 113 people were killed and 1,700 were injured in collisions involving at least one driver who had consumed alcohol.

If you are going to drink, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, use public transportation or contact a drive-home service, such as Operation Red Nose.
 

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