With the season of barbecues, cottage parties and long weekends upon us, police and RCMP are stepping up enforcement to combat impaired driving, including an improved focus on drug-impaired drivers.
Launched in December 2007, the Integrated Impaired Driving Enforcement Unit has stopped more than 12,000 vehicles at 145 checkpoints so far this year.
So far in 2009, officers have administered 305 roadside alcohol screening tests, conducted five drug-impairment evaluations, laid 42 impaired driving charges, charged 22 newly licensed drivers with driving with alcohol in their system and ordered 82 immediate 24-hour licence suspensions.
"Impaired driving continues to be a significant problem in Nova Scotia and the province will keep up its effort to get dangerous drivers off our roads," said Deputy Premier Frank Corbett, on behalf of Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. "The integrated impaired driving enforcement unit is playing a key role in making our highways safer."
Justice Minister Ross Landry said impaired driving will not be tolerated.
"Nova Scotians are warned that our enforcement efforts are on high alert for anyone driving under the influence of liquor or drugs," said Mr. Landry.
Cpl. Pat Moran, the unit's chief officer, said motorists should be aware that the unit is patrolling day and night.
"Many people don't believe they'll get caught," said Cpl. Moran. "We're hoping to dispel that myth."
The province is running impaired driving ads that aim to educate youth, especially young men, about the dangers of drinking and driving. The ads are appearing across the province at various Empire Theatres outlets and are part of the ongoing efforts to improve road safety by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Health Promotion and Protection, Justice and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.
The province also has 33 certified officers who have taken the internationally recognized, Drug Recognition Expert program. Drug recognition experts are trained to identify and verify drug-impaired driving.
Officer-in-charge of the Halifax Regional Police/RCMP Traffic Unit, Sgt. Mike Spearns, said a common misconception is that impaired driving only relates to alcohol.
"Whether it's a prescription, street drug, or alcohol, anything that impairs your ability to drive is dangerous and illegal." said Sgt. Spearns.
The campaign ads and more information on impaired driving can be found on the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal website at www.gov.ns.ca/tran .
FOR BROADCAST USE:
With the season of barbecues, cottage parties and long weekends upon us, police and RCMP are stepping up enforcement to combat impaired driving.
Deputy Premier Frank Corbett, on behalf Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, says impaired driving continues to be a significant problem in Nova Scotia and the province will keep up its effort to get dangerous drivers off our roads.
Campaign ads and more information on impaired driving can be found on the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal website at W-W-W dot gov dot N-S dot C-A slash T-R-A-N.