Cochrane RCMP says results are in from the numerous check stops held throughout the month of December.
After checking thousands of vehicles, Cochrane RCMP, Sergeant Dave Hardy with Integrated Traffic Services, shares the number of intercepted drivers was fairly consistent with those found in 2017. "Through the month of December in all the check stops we conducted in the Cochrane area we ended up apprehending nine impaired drivers through the month with seven of these charges being for impaired operation and two refusing to provide samples, so those people all have court appearances coming up. The check stops also apprehended 14 disqualified drivers so those vehicles were impounded and there were 11 provincial suspensions issued for being under the influence of alcohol over the level and being under the influence of drugs."
Intercepting fourteen disqualified drivers was a bit alarming, says Hardy. "That number increased quite substantially, and I don't really have an explanation as to why. Fourteen is a pretty high number, but we do track those numbers because it comes with a 30-day vehicle seizure; it's quite costly to get apprehended for driving while suspended and comes with quite a few court fines too."
With changes to mandatory alcohol screening not coming into effect until halfway through the check stop blitz, Hardy will be curious to see results as we go forward. "There were two apprehensions under that program from the18th, and we expect there to be additional enforcement and apprehensions as a result down the road. I have done the mandatory alcohol screen multiple times now, and I did implement it several times where I had no indication that the driver had anything to drink nor did they admit to having anything to drink but in fact, they recorded samples within the legal limit under the ASD (approved screening device). These are pretty good examples where this is going to come into effect and be effective. With no indication, in the past, I would not have even done a roadside screening test so I think there will be a lot of examples where people may blow over the 50-milligram legal limit and will be apprehended for it."
Issuing only one provincial suspension for drug use made New Year's Eve seem quite quiet, but although the holidays are behind us, RCMP are just ramping up. "There is going to be an enhanced level of check stop enforcement, and now when you get stopped for speeding or any traffic violation, there is a good chance you will be recording a sample into the alcohol screening device. That is the way it's going to be in the future, that's the way it is now, and we are going to be actively out there utilizing that device. It will be interesting to see where the numbers go and also where traffic fatalities and injuries go too. It is supposed to have an enormous effect, and we are going to do our best to use these provisions to make our roads safer."