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Impaired driving is front and centre

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 06:00 am

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‘Tis the season to enjoy the company of family, friends and co-workers, and often that enjoyment includes a drink or two. Nothing wrong with that. However, there is plenty wrong if it gets taken too far and becomes impaired driving.

Impaired driving is a problem in this area. Any reader can check out the Gazette’s court briefs any week of the year, and usually find at least one story involving impaired operation of a motor vehicle.

The problem of impaired driving, in fact, seems to be getting worse, not better. Last Friday morning, Edmonton Police Service revealed they had nabbed 17 impaired drivers in a 24-hour time span. One of the impaired drivers allegedly slammed into a family stopped at a light and was subsequently charged with impaired driving, criminal flight and dangerous driving.

The St. Albert Gazette is campaigning this December, along with some concerned partners in the community including the St. Albert RCMP and Morinville RCMP, to reduce or even eliminate impaired driving.

According to the provincial government, drinking and driving imposes enormous costs on our society. The true cost of drinking and driving is the victims, stated the province. From 2008 to 2012, 471 people were killed and 7,397 people were injured in alcohol-related collisions. In 2012 alone, 78 people were killed and 1,268 were injured. Over the last five years, there have been 43,111 criminal convictions for impaired driving in Alberta. In comparison, www.icasualties.org states that 158 Canadians have been killed since Operation Enduring Freedom began in the Middle East more than 10 years ago.

It’s clear people aren’t getting the message, but if each one of us is diligent, we can make a difference. If you’re at a party and you spot someone who has had too much to drink, make sure that person doesn’t drive home. If you’re out and about and you spot someone driving erratically, report it to the police. If we all do our part, we can make the streets safer for all.

A thankless job

As winter descends on St. Albert, the Grinches are coming out of hibernation to begin complaining about snow removal. For a moment, look at things from the snow plow operator’s point of view.

These are people who are called at 2 a.m. to go to work in frigid conditions, trying to plow snow from around parked vehicles as neighbourhood residents insist that their street take precedence over any others. For those working on the main thoroughfares, traffic zips by as the plows are trying to work, while many motorists yell insults or make rude gestures.

The City of St. Albert public works staff does a solid job of plowing main and back streets, along with the many walking trails. They deserve a pat on the back.


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