By Lethbridge Heraldr on December 2, 2023.
Lethbridge Police Service is launching it’s annual Christmas Check Stop campaign.
Check Stops will be held throughout the month of December and into the New Year as part of a targeted effort to apprehend impaired drivers in the city.
Impaired drivers pose a significant risk to public safety and the primary goal of the Christmas Check Stop program is to remove them from the road, says LPS.
Police will also be checking for valid documentation including driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and insurance as well as equipment, liquor and other violations.
Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration over .08 could face criminal charges and upon conviction – the life-long consequence of a criminal record.
Under the provincial Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) program if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol or over the legal limit, an IRS Fail will be issued resulting in a 15-month suspension (with the option of getting an ignition interlock device after the first three months), 30-day vehicle seizure, $1,000 fine and mandatory completion of the Planning Ahead course. With any subsequent offences the penalties increase.
The financial impact of a first FAIL offence – including towing, vehicle storage, the fine, getting an interlock device and enrolling in the education program – is roughly$4,000-$5,000.
Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or over are subject to an IRS Warn resulting in an immediate three-day license suspension and vehicle seizure along with a $300 fine. Penalties increase with repeated offences.
There is zero tolerance for drivers with a Graduated Driving License. An offence will result in an immediate 30-day license suspension, seven-day vehicle seizure and $200 fine.
Police can also issue an immediate 24-hour suspension for drivers suspected of being impaired by alcohol, drugs or a physical or medical condition that affects their ability to safely operate a vehicle.
In Canada, police have the authority to request a breath test from any driver who is lawfully stopped. Sober or not, if a driver refuses to provide a breath sample they can be criminally charged.
Last December, police checked nearly 1,300 motorists and apprehended seven impaired drivers. In addition, four drivers received IRS warnings, there were three GDL suspensions, two suspended drivers arrested and multiple violation tickets issued.
If you observe a suspected impaired driver, call 911.
Police also ask residents to refrain from sharing Check Stop locations on social media because doing so assists impaired drivers avoid detection and puts all road users at risk.