Christmas Check Stop program seeing decrease in number of impaired drivers, say police

The Lethbridge Police Service continued its 2021 Christmas Check Stop campaign over the weekend, with a total of about 525 vehicles checked at various locations across the city.  And according to Acting Sergeant Brent Paxman of Lethbridge Police’s Traffic Response Unit.  The number of impaired drivers they have caught has decreased over the last five years.

And the President and Victim Support Volunteer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Anita Huchala agrees that the lower number of impaired drivers is promising.  However, she says party hosts need to keep a watchful eye on their guests.
This is the second Christmas season in which Bill 21 is in effect.  This allows police officers to issue stiff roadside sanctions, rather than laying criminal charges for driving while intoxicated.  However Paxman says, there are some circumstances where you may not avoid a criminal charge, and you might find yourself in the back seat of the most unpleasant rideshare ever.
Lethbridge Mayor Blaine Hyggen attended the Check Stop site with MADD to help hand out candy canes and wish drivers who passed the screening a safe and happy holidays.  According to a press release from Lethbridge Police, Check Stop efforts resulted in three Immediate Roadside Sanction (IRS) ‘fails’.  These drivers face substantial fines and fees, and must also participate in an educational course and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle before they can apply to have the license reinstated. There was also one IRS ‘warn’ for blood/alcohol content of .05 or greater, and three IRS for zero tolerance with a Graduated Driver License.  With the assistance of Alberta Sheriffs, Lethbridge Police also took two suspended drivers off the road, issued 25 violation tickets under the Traffic Safety Act and Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, and nine vehicles towed.

Naveen Day

Naveen came to Lethbridge in 2018 with experience in broadcast spanning over 20 years. In Winnipeg, he produced two factual entertainment shows for Shaw and Bell MTS prior to his move to Southern Alberta where he quickly ventured out into the world of journalism at Bridge City News. Naveen has a passion for producing thought-provoking and informative news pieces that answer questions we all have in the back of our minds.

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