Airdrie officers nabbed three semi drivers suspected of impaired driving within a four-day period this month, a number that has authorities and MADD concerned.

“It is scary, when you’re dealing with a commercial vehicle like a semi truck and trailer, 34,000 kilograms to 40,000 kilograms of metal, rolling down our highway,” said Cpl. Darrin Turnbull with the Airdrie’s integrated traffic unit, adding three cases in such a short period of time is unusual.

One would expect drivers of commercial vehicles to be under “more stringent controls,” added Wayne Kauffeldt, former chair of MADD Canada.

“It’s always a concern when anyone is caught on the road drinking and driving, even more so with commercial drivers who disobey the law and disregard public safety,” Kauffeldt said.

Turnbull said the first case took place on Feb. 8 at about 8 p.m. when a 50-year-old man from Chelmsford, Ont., was pulling into the Balzac commercial vehicle inspection station driving a full-sized semi tractor trailer loaded with non-hazardous materials.

An enforcement officer at the station noticed the driver seemed to be having difficulty navigating the 34,000-kilogram truck as it pulled into the weigh scales, suspected signs of impairment, and called police.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t that the guy didn’t know how to drive, it was that the guy was impaired and shouldn’t be driving,” Turnbull said.

An Airdrie officer was dispatched to the scene, obtained two breath samples from the driver, and determined they were over the legal limit. Charges are pending.

Three days later, the Balzac commercial vehicle inspection station received a tip from a concerned citizen that two semi truck drivers had been witnessed drinking alcohol at a local truck stop, and were heading north on Highway 2.

The trucks were pulled over at about 5 p.m.

The first driver, a 41-year-old man from Vancouver, provided a breath sample and got an immediate 72-hour roadside suspension. The second driver, a 38-year-old Calgary man, provided two breath samples that were over the legal limit, and is facing charges.

Police say all three trucks were towed and seized for the mandatory three-day seizure, and the two drivers who are facing charges were also served with immediate and indefinite driving suspensions.

“We’ve seen the carnage of drunk driving from all sizes of vehicles,” said Kauffeldt. “It’s far too widespread and obviously enters into every segment of society.”

Source: Calgary Herald


Last updated on: 2014-02-28 | Link to this post