The numbers are in, and it's looking good. The Saskatchewan RCMP are reporting that between December 24, 2017, to January 1, 2018, the number of impaired drivers and those who received a roadside suspension are down from last year.
"The numbers have trended down a little bit from this year to last year," shared Staff Sgt. Mark Flodell with the traffic division. "We're encouraged that the public is being more aware of drinking and driving and the effects it has on families."
He explains that tougher laws introduced at the beginning of 2017 could have had an impact on these statistics.
"I believe the legislation has made a change in behaviour as well as the projects that we run throughout the year addressing impaired driving has made a difference this year."
"They've increased the suspension for blowing a roadside warning so that has also taken some drivers' notice. It's not just 24 hours anymore where people think, I can be without my license for 24 hours. But now it's three days so it's a little bit more of an inconvenience."
As well, those who refused to provide a breath sample are all down from last year. Flodell explained why this is significant.
"Because if you suspect and have evidence that somebody is driving while impaired, in order to charge them with driving over the legal limit, you have to provide a sample. If they don't provide a sample, you can't lay that charge of driving over .08. You can lay the impaired charge if you have enough driving evidence and physical evidence being their bodily functions and coordination. But if they don't provide a sample, you can't charge them with driving over .08. So the charge of refusal is laid and it carries the same penalty."
"It's nice to see the trend going in the right direction."
(December 24, 2017, to January 1, 2018),
- 21 individuals were charged with Impaired Operation over 80 mg% of a Motor Vehicle
- 0 individuals refused a breath sample (considered the same as blowing over 80 mg%)
- 8 individuals received an alcohol-related roadside suspension
(December 24, 2016, to January 1, 2017),
- 29 individuals were charged with Impaired Operation over 80 mg% of a Motor Vehicle
- 3 individuals refused a breath sample (considered the same as blowing over 80 mg%)
- 14 individuals received an alcohol-related roadside suspension