Drive drunk, drive stoned, get caught: Alberta RCMP out in full force on Friday

Edmonton, Alberta – On Friday, September 5th, RCMP officers across Alberta will step up enforcement efforts in support of the RCMP’s National Impaired Driving Strategy, aimed at increasing awareness of the dangers and social impact of a crime results in more injury and death across Canada than any other. In recognition of that reality, the RCMP made combatting the crime of impaired driving a national priority, focussing efforts of public awareness and traffic enforcement strategies aimed at keeping drunk and drug-impaired drivers off the nation’s roadways.

“Many people don’t realize that driving under the influence of prescription drugs or marijuana is as dangerous as driving drunk, and combining marijuana with even small amounts of alcohol can be a deadly mix,” said Superintendent Howard Eaton, Officer in Charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services.” It doesn’t matter if a driver is drunk or stoned if they kill someone on the roads – that innocent person is still dead. It is as simple as that.”

Impairment by drugs and alcohol result in a shorter attention span, an altered perception of time and distances, and slower reaction times that impair the driver’s ability to respond to sudden events in traffic

The most recent roadside surveys and research suggest that drug impaired driving is becoming as prevalent as alcohol impaired driving. A 2012 study by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax found that smoking cannabis three hours before driving nearly doubled a driver’s risk of having a motor vehicle crash. Combining cannabis with even small amounts of alcohol greatly increases the negative impact on driving skills.

Friday’s operation will be the fourth in a series of Canada-wide traffic enforcement events which began on December 7, 2013, and continued on March and June 27th this year. Over the course of these three events, the RCMP across Canada laid 363 Impaired Driving by Alcohol and 12 charges of Impaired Driving by Drugs.

Approximately 800 people die each year in Canada due to alcohol-related crashes. The national homicide rate in Canada for 2012 was 543 people.

“We lose about 250 more Canadians on the roads each year due to impaired driving than we do to homicides,” said Eaton.” The average person doesn’t consider themselves capable of murder, but if you get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you are impaired, you risk becoming just that.”

If you see a suspected Impaired Driver, call 911 on your hands free device or pull over.