In recent years, reported impaired driving offences have been trending upwards across the province of Saskatchewan. In Weyburn, the recent year-to-date comparison of 2022 to 2023 (January-November) shows a similar trend. So how big of an increase did we see over the last year? Weyburn Police Chief Jamie Blunden broke down the figures and provided valuable insights into what those statistics mean.

"In 2023 we had 29 impaired drivers, one year-to-date [Jan.-Nov.]," said Chief Blunden. "In 2022 we only had 22, so that's an increase of 31.8%. When we look at 2023, 9 drivers were impaired by drug and in '22 we had 6. So that was an increase of 50%. 

Many might speculate that increasingly stricter laws and improved tools to identify offenders are not helping to deter impaired drivers from operating a vehicle, but Chief Blunden explained that these advancements have only brought more clarity to the ongoing search, exposing those who might have previously gone undetected.

"To get a better indication of how we're doing, we look at a 9 year average. Looking at 2023, we're down 9% overall from the 9 year average. But think back 9 years, we weren't doing much impaired by drug charges. We didn't have the technology, we didn't have as much knowledge. So, when we compare impaired by drug charges now to the 9 year average, we're up 73.9%. It's because we have more technology, and more ability to locate, lay that charge, and arrest those individuals that are impaired by drugs."

Taking into consideration the increased ability to positively identify drivers impaired by drugs, the long-term stats prove to be much more indicative of how enforcement methods have improved the safety of Weyburn's roads. SoToxa roadside THC testing kits are one example of the tools that have increased officers' abilities to lay a positive charge for impairment, which brought a jump to the stats during their arrival to Saskatchewan Law Enforcement in 2020. It is likely, then, that future advancements will similarly skew the numbers as well. 

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, DiscoverWeyburn encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverWeyburn app.