The Estevan Police Service (EPS) continues to tackle impaired driving in the community.
Police Chief Paul Ladouceur said the EPS has been conduction check stops a couple times a month recently, and people can expect to see even more in the next couple of weeks.
“With Christmas approaching, people are going out to parties and to house gatherings and things like that,” said Ladouceur. “So we want to make sure we have a high presence on our roads, and certainly reminding people to drive sober.”
Those who are going to be drinking should plan a safe ride home, call a taxi cab or spend the night at a friend’s place. If they choose to drive while impaired, then the chances of getting caught are pretty high, he said.
“People can expect to see us out from now until Christmas at various points, and over and above the check stops, our members are always out there, looking around for possible impaired drivers, at this time of the year especially.”
The new Mothers Against Drunk Drivers chapter in Estevan has been a big boost. They have been to events in the community to promote their message and their Project Red Ribbon campaign, and chapter volunteers have been at check stops as well.
“Sometimes they’re giving drivers gifts, small tokens, for driving sober, and certainly spreading the message. I think it’s only going to get better and better the more they’re out.”
The check stops aren’t always on weekends, either. They might be during the week, or even in the afternoon. The police chief pointed out that it’s because people will have afternoon get-togethers when alcohol is served.
He reminded liquor establishments and party hosts that they are liable for the patrons and guests at their place, so he encourages people to plan how guests are getting home safely.
Ladouceur believes the public is getting the message about the need for safe driving. EPS members see more vehicles having “sleepovers” at local drinking establishments and events where liquor is served.
The police services also gets lots of positive comments about their efforts to end impaired driving in Estevan.
On a couple of occasions, the EPS has gone out and left gift cards on the windshields of those vehicles spending the night, thanking motorists for making the right choice.
“Since we had our community meeting earlier this year, I think there’s been a lot of attention placed on impaired driving,” said Ladouceur. “I think we’re on the right path. There’s still a long way to go.”
With the recent legalization of marijuana, Ladouceur reminded the public that that cannabis can also lead to impairment.
If people do see someone they suspect to be impaired, they should call the RID program, and Ladouceur encourages them to get a licence plate and a description of the vehicle.
“Many times, we apprehend impaired drivers thanks to the public’s assistance and the calls they’re willing to make,” said Ladouceur.
And if they see someone leaving a drinking establishment who they think is impaired, they should do what they can to prevent that person from getting behind the wheel.
The EPS hopes people will have a great time and celebrate the Christmas season, but they want people to do it responsibly.