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SQ cracking down on impaired drivers during summer long weekends

Click to play video: 'Holiday weekend driving safety'
Holiday weekend driving safety
WATCH ABOVE: Both municipal and provincial police are reminding drivers to drive safely as the summer's holiday weekends are upon us. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, authorities are taking measures to make sure the roads remain as safe as possible – Jun 23, 2019

The Sûreté du Québec is intensifying road interventions across the province for the Fête nationale and Canada Day.

From June 21 to July 1, the SQ is cracking down on drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

Drivers could be subjected to physical co-ordination and drug recognition tests if officers suspect they are impaired.

While the blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.08), the limits for cannabis vary. A driver found with THC levels between two and five nanograms per ml of blood faces a less serious charge than a driver with levels higher than five nanograms of THC per ml of blood.

READ MORE: Canada’s new impaired driving laws are now in effect — here’s what to know

SQ spokesperson Daniel Thibaudeau says drivers can be charged with impaired driving regardless of levels of drugs or alcohol in their blood. According to Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, police officers can place a driver under arrest without any tests if they have reasonable grounds to believe the driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.

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Consequences for impaired driving include heavy fines, a criminal record, a suspended licence and even prison.

The SQ reports that in 2018, 14 people died and 369 were injured from road accidents around the Fête nationale and Canada Day long weekends.

For the same weekends, between nine and 14 people have been killed by road accidents every year since 2014 and the number of injured has steadily decreased since 2015.

READ MORE: How a weed conviction at 18 got a man banned at the U.S. border — 37 years later

Police are also warning drivers online. On its Facebook page, the Montreal police wrote that a man received a $1,678 fine and eight demerit points for driving 143 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. “Excuse: There was nobody,” the post reads, adding that it’s not worth the risk of putting lives in danger.

According to the SQ, speeding and cellphone use are the primary causes of deadly road collisions in Quebec.

During the crackdown, officers are also looking out for drivers and passengers who are not wearing seatbelts, and people using cellphones while driving.

They advise drivers to plan ahead in order to arrive at their destination safely while respecting speed limits and traffic laws.

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