By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 30, 2023.
You can run but you can’t expect to hide if driving while impaired on New Year’s Eve.
With one last weekend of merry-making before January arrives, many southern Albertans may be in the party mood.
But they can expect to be caught if they get behind the wheel of their vehicles while impaired on alcohol or other substances.
Mobile Check Stops will be conducted throughout the city on New Year’s Eve as LPS officers see who’s too much into the Christmas spirits.
Patrol members will be on the streets as well as a complement of Traffic Response Unit members in unmarked unit, said staff sergeant Kyle Meyers of Lethbridge Police Services on Friday.
Police will be doing mobile patrols all evening on Sunday, identifying impaired drivers, Meyers said.
Impaired driving has never disappeared but in the course of his career, Meyers says numbers have gone down.
“But it’s still prevalent for sure.”
The mobile stops will be done in particular areas with police going from one neighbourhood to another.
“They have more success doing that than they have with the standard ones this year,” he said.
The static Check Stop set-up on major roadways become quickly known to the public, he said, while the mobile ones with unmarked traffic units tend to have more success.
But either way, police will catch up to impaired drivers eventually.
More people are out at social events this year with call volumes rising, especially on nights like New Year’s Eve, he said.
While the mild weather will be easier on officers conducting traffic stops, it has downfalls as well because more people may be out conducting illicit activities.
“An old saying from my days when I first started is the best crime fighter in the world is weather. When it’s cold, people will tend to stay indoors and stay away but when it’s nice out they’re a little more inclined to be out roaming around and that includes people who are out for nefarious purposes.”
Meyers noted that people aren’t just impaired by alcohol but also by drugs, legal and otherwise such as fentanyl and meth.
Police seen have a rise over the last while with drug impaired drivers.
“We have specially trained officers” working as well, he said.
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