Manitobans may look forward to long weekends during the summer months and holiday season, but these periods tend to find us at our worst when it comes to our driving habits.
In fact, the Christmas season, Canada Day, Halloween, Victoria Day, Thanksgiving and Labour Day are particular menaces for police and RCMP who patrol our highways. Two years ago, Manitoba Public Insurance listed Labour Day and Thanksgiving as the two worst holiday periods on Manitoba roadways, with each holiday having 11 days from 2006-2010.
MPI numbers also show that in 2011, impaired driving contributed to 28 fatalities and 45 people being seriously injured. And two-thirds of collisions involving alcohol impairment occur on weekends and 39 per cent of alcohol-related collisions occur between 9 p.m. and
Thankfully, Westman statistics over the recent Labour Day weekend had a sober silver lining.
The weekend was a busy one for RCMP officers, who laid some huge fines for speeding, including one that was nearly $1,000. But the good news is that only one driver was found to have been drinking over the three-day holiday, and his blood-alcohol level was low enough to warrant a 24-hour suspension and no charges.
We’d love to believe that Manitoba drivers are getting the message to not drink and drive, but the reality is that RCMP and Brandon police routinely stop drunk drivers and issue tickets. It just so happens that this past weekend, a great many drivers who imbibed left their car keys in their pockets — or they didn’t get stopped by the RCMP.
There were also far too many people speeding, according to the RCMP report. Through their speeding ticket blitz, the RCMP charged 18 people last Friday, including a 21-year old caught driving 169 kilometres per hour on the Trans-Canada Highway.
There were 27 more charges laid the next day under the Highway Traffic Act, including one for a lead-footed driver tearing down the highway at 150 kilometres per hour, and another at 142. A further 48 speeding tickets were issued on Sunday and Monday.
These motorists may not have been drinking and driving, but as it has been proven time and time again, excessive speed kills. So take it easy on our highways and byways, please.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 5, 2014