Police forces across Quebec arrested 844 drivers for intoxicated driving during their 2019 holiday blitz to crack down on alcohol and drugs behind the wheel.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ), which released its annual report on Thursday morning, said 3,500 road blocks were set up from late November to early January.
“The implementation of roadside checks has enabled the police to educate tens of thousands of drivers,” the SQ said in a statement.
The provincial police force reports that the more than 800 motorists arrested were impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. Of them, about 100 were under the influence of drugs.
During the campaign, about 1,800 drivers took breathalyzer tests and more than 100 people under a zero blood-alcohol requirement were ticketed for non compliance.
The province-wide initiative, which takes place every winter, includes the SQ, local police forces and the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec.
“Although the festive season has ended, police operations to prevent impaired driving will continue throughout the year,” the SQ said in a statement.
In Quebec, tighter rules were implemented last fall for impaired drivers who are repeat offenders. Under the law, they are required to pass a breathalyzer test every time they get behind the wheel. That is in addition to existing penalties including vehicle seizure, criminal sanctions and licence suspension.
The report comes one week after the SQ revealed its road safety numbers for 2019. Quebec provincial police say the number of fatal collisions on Quebec roads is the lowest it has been in the past 10 years.