BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Though checkstops continue to be valuable tools, Brandon police say a new program encouraging people to call 911 on suspected drunk drivers has been a great success.
More than a year after its introduction, a program that encourages drivers to pull over and use their cellphone to report drunk drivers continues to be a success, police say.
"It just gives people an alternative way of communicating and reporting impaired drivers," Brandon Police Service Staff Sgt. Larry Yanick said. "The stats speak for themselves."
The Report Impaired Drivers 911 program was introduced in February 2011 by Brandon police, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Manitoba Public Insurance and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission.
Statistics supplied by the police force show that, in the program’s first year, citizen calls to 911 to report drunk drivers jumped to 28 calls per month on average. That was up from an average of less than one call per month prior to the program.
The number of suspected drunk drivers intercepted by police went up 79 per cent, to 161 from 90 the previous year.
About 46 of those intercepts resulted in charges or roadside suspensions.
The number of cases in which charges or suspensions were handed out as a result of citizen calls went up by 48.4 per cent.
In cases where the suspect vehicle’s licence plate number and description was passed to police but the vehicle couldn’t be found, police issued 114 warning letters to vehicle owners.
Between warning letters and intercepts, police were able to take action on 275 reports, or 48.6 per cent of calls received.
The program is still promoted by signs posted throughout the city and by members of the Citizens on Patrol Program who hand out promotional material.
As of April 2012, since the program began there have been 232 calls to 911 to report suspected impaired drivers and 439 to the non emergency line.
In total, 195 vehicles were intercepted and impaired driving charges were laid in 43 cases.
The program will be introduced to Portage la Prairie and Thompson sometime in the next few weeks.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 9, 2012