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LPS on lookout for impaired driving at Christmas Checkstops

Click to play video: 'LPS on lookout for impaired driving at Christmas Checkstops' LPS on lookout for impaired driving at Christmas Checkstops
The Lethbridge Police Service is continuing its Christmas Checkstop campaign, holding its latest stop this past weekend. As Erik Bay tells us, LPS is seeing more impaired drivers this holiday season, as enforcement and education increase over last year – Dec 20, 2021

They weren’t Christmas lights, but Highway 3 was coloured red and blue Saturday night as members of the Lethbridge Police Service conducted the city’s third Christmas Checkstop event of the season.

The local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was also in attendance, as the group is reinforcing the importance of finding a safe ride home after the COVID-19 pandemic kept them on the sidelines last year.

“It’s just great that we have an opportunity to be out here in the general public. Last year we weren’t out,” MADD Lethbridge & Area chapter president Anita Huchala said.

Read more: Lethbridge Police Service Christmas Check Stop Campaign kicks off this weekend

“This year we can be out there again, so it does bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving. The people are really quite appreciative… that we are out here.”

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Out of 525 vehicles checked this weekend, three immediate roadside sanction fails were recorded, along with three sanctions for zero tolerance with a graduated license. Nine vehicles were towed and 25 tickets were issued under the Traffic Safety Act and the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act.

Click to play video: 'LPS Christmas Check Stop Campaign kicks off this weekend' LPS Christmas Check Stop Campaign kicks off this weekend
LPS Christmas Check Stop Campaign kicks off this weekend – Dec 2, 2021

That’s in addition to six immediate roadside sanctions issued over the first two weekends.

With only one suspected impaired driver caught in two checkstops in 2020, Traffic Response Unit Acting Sgt. Brent Paxman said the number of impaired drivers this year is high, but not unprecedented.

Read more: Lethbridge police equipped with new Bill 21 sanctions as check stop campaign begins

“Our peak was about five years ago and that was 12 throughout the season, just at our checkstops,” Paxman said.

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“We’re on pace to hit that this year, so this year is kind of a peak year.”

The checkstops will continue throughout December and MADD wants everyone to remember to have a safe plan to get home.

“When there’s plenty of taxis, there’s Uber and you can always phone a sober friend or family member,” Huchala said. “I think it’s pretty clear we should all be driving sober.”

Paxman agreed.

“Drive safe, drive sober and have a happy holiday,” Paxman said.

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