Sask. RCMP arrest over 130 drivers for impaired driving through first two months of 2023

Last week was National Impaired Driving Prevention Week, which saw police, government, and community organizations working to raise awareness about the risks and consequences of impaired driving.

To coincide with the week, the Saskatchewan RCMP and Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan (CTSS) released numbers showing that officers arrested 138 drivers who submitted breath samples over the legal limit and charged them under the Criminal Code through just the first two months of 2023.

Some of those drivers were well over the legal limit of 80 mg% of alcohol in their blood, which is the threshold for a Criminal Code impaired driving charge:

  • 66 drivers provided samples at least twice the legal limit;
  • 12 drivers provided samples at least three times the legal limit; and
  • 2 drivers were at least four times the legal limit.

Supt. Grant St. Germaine, the officer in charge of Saskatchewan RCMP Traffic Services, said he wished the RCMP didn’t have to continue to warn the public about the dangers of impaired driving.

“We know it’s dangerous. We know its tragic consequences are 100% preventable, but we continue to find impaired drivers on Saskatchewan’s roads,” he said. “We’re releasing these numbers to show you that people are continuing to get behind the wheel when it should be clear they shouldn’t be. Everyone needs to take responsibility and ensure that they, and those around them, are not driving when they are impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

Bonny Stevenson, MADD Saskatoon Chapter President, said to see over 130 people not getting the message that impaired driving can lead to tragic consequences is frustrating.

“People need to understand how it affects people, and I always think when you hear someone complaining that they got caught, they should see that as fortunate that they just got taken off the road for a couple of days,” she said. Death by impaired driving is not an accident; it’s a choice that people make to get behind the wheel.”

Stevenson said it all comes down to planning ahead and making smarter decisions.

“You have to, amongst your group of friends, come up with that person that’s going be the sober driver or has a parent in place that will come and get you and your vehicle,” she said. “I really hope that we are raising youth to make smarter choices,. I think it’s always tougher to change as older people; we always think we no better, and that message is harder to get there.”

She said there was no problem with calling the police with you suspected someone was driving impaired.

“If they suspect someone of being impaired, call 911 and let the police know. We all have the power to take the keys away from someone, it might be a fight at the moment, but you might be saving a life, and that’s the most important thing.”

According to the RCMP, signs of a possible impaired driver include lane drifting; driving too fast, slow or at an inconsistent speed; not using proper signals; making very wide turns; approaching and leaving intersections too slowly or quickly; and driving without headlights or leaving high beams or turn signals on.

The Sask. RCMP also issued some reminders for the public:

  • If you will be consuming products which result in impairment, such as alcohol or cannabis, have a designated driver assigned or plan to take a cab or transit. If no safe ride is available, stay the night and drive only when sober.
  • Don’t take a chance. If you question whether you’re “too impaired to drive or not,” you likely are.
  • Don’t let friends or loved ones drive while impaired. If you have concerns about someone’s ability to drive safely, share them calmly and rationally and offer alternative options.
  • If you see a suspected impaired driver, pull over and immediately call 911.

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