News: Big jump in drunk-driving charges, as more tips phoned in

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Published in the August 20 2010 issue of The Edmonton Sun. News


Big jump in drunk-driving charges, as more tips phoned in

New numbers released Thursday show that police charged more drunk drivers last month than in any other month of 2010.

More than 80 drunk drivers were charged in the city last month, thanks to the Curb the Danger program, police say.

There are more phone calls coming in as part of the Curb the Danger program, said Sgt. Aubrey Zalaski, with the Edmonton Police Service’s impaired driving counter measures unit.

“People are really assisting us by giving us good descriptors.”

In July, 808 calls were made from the public reporting suspected drunk drivers.

This led to 81 impaired charges, 19 24-hour suspensions and 105 warning letters sent out to registered owners who police were unable to intercept either because the caller lost sight of the vehicle or there wasn’t a police car in the area that could intercept quick enough.

“Comparing the year totals, July has been significantly higher a month for us compared to the rest of the year,” Zalaski said.

He adds that the number of charges that month compared to July of last year is an increase of more than 50%, from 53 charges up to 81.

The Curb the Danger program began in 2006 as a way to remind the public — using posters and billboards — to call 911 and report if they see potentially drunk drivers on the roads.

“If you spot an erratic driver, call 911, don’t feel bad about doing it,” Zalaski said. “It would be better for us to try and stop a person and find out that there’s nothing wrong as opposed to having an impaired driver kill someone down the road later on.”

August is also Impaired Driving Month across the province.

A number of checkstops have been planned in and around the city.

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