January 18th, 2018

Police ramp up checkstop program for holiday season

By Peggy Revell on December 18, 2017.

prevell@medicinehatnews.com @MHNprevell

The holiday season is here — and with it, the Medicine Hat Police Service’s much-more-visible checkstop program has returned to deter people from impaired driving.

“It’s that time of the year, we’re out and about … we just hope that people won’t drink and drive,” said MHPS’ Insp. Joe West.

Police stopped about 1,400 vehicles at the most recent of these checkstops Friday and Saturday night, he said.

“We had about 18 motorists who were put on a roadside screening device, that’s where we suspect that they had alcohol in their bodies but we haven’t formed the opinion that they’re actually impaired, that they’re at that 800 mg per cent,” he said. “One person was charged with criminal impaired driving, and we had one person who we suspected had consumed cannabis and was given a (standard) 24-hour license suspension.”

As well, police issued 13 liquor violations, said West, the most typical type being having open liquor in a vehicle.

“And we had 29 traffic violations were either dealt with by ticket or a warning,” he added.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) were also assisting at the site, giving out candy canes to people who hadn’t been drinking, such as designated drivers, said West.

West said that while police would prefer that people don’t share the checkstop locations with others on social media, they know people are going to spread the word.

“And we hope part of the message isn’t just where the checkstops are, but that there’s checkstops out and about, and hopefully it certainly deters people from drinking and driving.”

The holiday checkstops are more high profile, he said, which is why police run smaller checkstops on a weekly basis.

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