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More checkstops for impaired drivers a holiday tradition: Saskatoon police sergeant

The Saskatoon Police Service is planning for six additional checkstops between Monday and during New Year's Eve.
The Saskatoon Police Service is planning for six additional checkstops between Monday and during New Year's Eve. @SPSTraffic / Twitter

The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) recently announced its plans for this year’s Holiday Checkstop campaign.

Six additional checkstops are expected in the city between Dec. 9 and New Year’s Eve.

READ MORE: SGI puts festive spin on message to plan safe rides this holiday season

Staff Sgt. Patrick Barbar said they’ve conducted 32 checkstops already this year.

“However, during the Christmas holiday season in December, it is traditional for police services across Canada to put on additional checkstops because of the festive nature of the season,” he said.

“The risks associated with impaired driving increase quite dramatically in the month of December, and as a police service, we are committed to keeping the holiday safe for everybody on our roads.

“We’re looking, of course, for impairment by alcohol and by drug. And that’s something that we’ve become accustomed to that second holiday season now since the legalization of cannabis. So we’re going be on the lookout for that as well.”

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During the campaign, Barbar said they’ll be gifting sober drivers with coffee cards from different sponsors like Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).

SGI media relations manager Tyler McMurchy said there’s always a better option than driving impaired, including calling a for sober lift home.

“Nobody wants to remember this holiday season or any other as the one where you got an impaired driving charge, the one where you caused a collision because you were impaired. The one where somebody got injured or somebody lost their life,” McMurchy said.

“It is a time of making the right kind of memories, not the tragic kind of memories that unfortunately we do see on occasion.”

Alleged impaired driver crashes into power pole, thousands lose power in Saskatoon
Alleged impaired driver crashes into power pole, thousands lose power in Saskatoon

Bonny Stevenson, president of Saskatoon’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) chapter, said they’re working on Project Red Ribbon right now.

“We like to think that having these red ribbons out constantly reminds people of not drinking and driving, always drive sober. That’s always going to be our message, no matter what,” she said.

“It’s about making that plan before you leave the house. Project Red Ribbon is about all of that. It reminds us of all the people that have been killed by an impaired driver. So join me today and tie a red ribbon on so everyone knows that you’re committed to driving sober.”

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Police across Saskatchewan reported 352 impaired driving offences during the December 2018 traffic safety spotlight.