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St. Albert RCMP ramping up checkstops over the holidays

Man who blew five times the legal limit arrested during checkstop blitz

By: Amy Crofts

  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 06:00 am

ROADSIDE ATTRACTION – Const. Bruce Mcgilvray of the RCMP participates in a Checkstop along Campbell Road on Saturday, Dec. 7.
ROADSIDE ATTRACTION – Const. Bruce Mcgilvray of the RCMP participates in a Checkstop along Campbell Road on Saturday, Dec. 7.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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Provincial penalties reminders:

1. If you have a Graduated Drivers License (GDL) and a you blow one milligram or higher on a roadside screening device, you will immediately lose your license for one month and have the vehicle you are driving seized for a minimum of seven days. GDL drivers are not to consume ANY alcohol before driving.
2. If you are charged with impaired driving or driving while over .08, you will immediately lose your license until the court proceedings are completed and your vehicle will be seized for a minimum of three days. The conclusion of court proceedings can take several months.
3. It is the law to be able to produce your driver's license, registration and vehicle insurance upon being requested by a peace officer. The voluntary penalty for failing to produce these documents is $172.00.

Increased efforts by St. Albert RCMP to target impaired driving have been underway since the beginning of December. So far they are paying off.

RCMP have arrested three impaired drivers after screening close to 1,000 vehicles at various checkstops around the city.

One of the drivers apprehended was a man who blew five times the legal limit. The legal blood alcohol limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

“That is scary stuff knowing that this person was still functioning enough to get behind a wheel and physically drive,” commented Cpl. Don Murray of St. Albert RCMP traffic services.

Murray said impaired driving is still a perennial problem in the city despite all the education available.

“There are still too many irresponsible motorists that think they can drive safely after drinking alcohol. If (people) have any doubts about their ability to drink and then drive safely, they shouldn’t be driving at all.”

RCMP will be holding checkstops this weekend and continuing into the new year.

In 2012, St. Albert ranked in the top 10 cities in Canada for having the highest number of people charged with impaired driving offences.

In Maclean's annual Canada's Most Dangerous Cities survey, the city ranked eighth on the list with 471.9 charges per 100,000 people. St. Albert's total was calculated to mirror how many charges it would have if it had a population of 100,000.

RCMP stated that increased enforcement of impaired driving laws were the reason for the high number of charges.

In addition to the three arrests made at checkstops so far this season, Murray noted a handful of driving suspensions were also handed out.

Tougher consequences for drivers with a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08 were introduced in September 2012, one of the highlights being that Alberta no longer has 24-hour driving suspensions.

Drivers who blow between .05 and .08 will be given an immediate three-day license suspension and three-day vehicle seizure for their first offence.

Penalties climb to a 15-day license suspension, seven-day vehicle seizure and “Planning Ahead” course for the second suspension. For the third suspension, there is an immediate 30-day license suspension, seven-day vehicle seizure and mandatory “Impact” course.

Murray hopes people will stop and think before drinking and driving.

“I hope people realize that even if they aren’t over the criminal threshold there are still consequences,” he said.

“Motorists who choose to drink and drive not only face a chance of killing themselves, their friends or someone else, but there are also very serious legal, financial and social consequences.”

“They have a lot to lose, including their freedom, job, dignity and even their lives.”

Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada and alcohol is involved in nearly 40 per cent of motor vehicle fatalities.


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