Local Mounties say they had something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving — they didn’t find any drunk drivers on area highways.
“During the weekend, we had zero impaireds, which is good,” Blue Hills RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Zens reported on Wednesday.
Once again on the Thanksgiving long weekend, RCMP and police forces across the country took part in the annual Operation Impact checkstop campaign, which targets high-risk driving such as drinking and driving, talking or texting on cellphones, failing to wear seatbelts and speeding.
There were no dedicated checkstops done by members of the Blue Hills detachment area, which covers the Brandon area, Souris and Carberry.
Instead, to make the best use of manpower, the approach for members in the Blue Hills area is to focus on patrols along area highways, which keeps members available for other calls.
“Roving patrols afford us the opportunity to patrol our entire detachment area and provide visibility and enforcement,” Zens said.
Blue Hills dedicated an officer to traffic duty on Friday, and again on Monday. Other officers worked on traffic enforcement as their duties allowed.
Despite that effort, they didn’t find any impaired drivers and issued one 24-hour suspension for a driver who was drinking but only scored a warning reading on a roadside screening device.
Officers wrote five speeding tickets and seven tickets for various other provincial offences. One motorist was charged with driving while prohibited.
No tickets were issued for failing to wear a seatbelt or for using a cellphone while driving.
Across the province, Mounties laid 20 charges for impaired driving, and issued seven 24-hour roadside suspensions.
In addition, they wrote 34 tickets for failing to wear a seatbelt and five tickets for using cellphones or other handheld electronic devices while driving.
Meanwhile, 486 other traffic-related charges were laid for such infractions as speeding and Criminal Code offences such as driving while prohibited.
RCMP didn’t record the number of cars pulled over during the Operation Impact blitz.
There was one fatal off-road ATV crash in the RM of Ste. Anne on Saturday.
Last year across the province, RCMP laid 36 impaired driving charges, issued seven roadside suspensions, handed out 49 tickets for failing to wear seatbelts and issued nine tickets for using a cellphone or other device while driving.
Another 505 various traffic charges were laid.
The Brandon Police Service hasn’t released this year’s Operation Impact statistics yet.
Operation Impact is a joint national project sponsored by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and Transport Canada.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 17, 2013