The Edmonton Police Service will launch its Christmas Checkstop campaign with new breathalyzers Dec. 4.

EPS arrested fewer drunk drivers last holiday season because officers were training on the new devices, but cops are all trained up and in full force.

Sgt. Conrad Moschansky said EPS now has 20-30% more officers trained on the new devices than were trained on the old ones, which had been in use since 1997.

“Although that’s a heavy workload for us, it’s advantageous to us,” he said.

“The older instruments were extremely reliable, they ran wonderfully, but they were getting old, and getting replacement parts became difficult and it was time to move up to a newer generation.”

Impaired driving arrests declined overall in 2013 because of the retraining, but Moschansky expects the numbers to crawl back up.

“We’ve stayed status quo, around 2,000 to 2,200 impaired drivers within the City of Edmonton, since 2008,” he said.

So far this year, 1,448 impaired driving charges have been laid.

EPS handed out $10 taxi vouchers to sober drivers who passed through Checkstops in 2013, and Moschansky said he is still in talks to bring the voucher program back this winter.

He said more taxis and late-night public transit options could help curb drunk driving.

“I’ve seen people standing out on Whyte Avenue and Jasper Avenue at two or three in the morning and everybody’s waving for a taxi cab, and they’re waiting quite some time,” he said. “If we could speed that up somehow, sure — any advantage to stop them from making the choice to drink and drive I think would be positive.”

Source: Edmonton Sun


Last updated on: 2014-12-16 | Link to this post