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Calgary's impaired driving enforcement appears to be working

In a follow-up to a December article where we described the Calgary crusade to decrease impaired driving, we now report that it appears the crusade is succeeding. Law enforcement is actually seeing a reduction in impaired driving charges. Numbers for those charged with drunk driving in Calgary were down in 2015.

In 2014, there were 2,500 impaired driving charges issued, and in 2015, there were only 2,080. According to one staff sergeant, this is the second year in a row that the numbers have been on the decline, which is promising for law enforcement. In both 2015 and 2014, there were seven fatalities due to impaired driving; however, in 2013, there were 11.

Steps taken to get impaired drivers off of the road include a check-stop program. Police are also responding quickly to any reports of impaired drivers on the road. Even so, a former president of the Calgary MADD chapter still believes that more proactive steps should be taken. While she believes the reduction in numbers is positive, she says there are still many impaired drivers out there.

Law enforcement's vigilance is sure to make the streets safer, but in so doing, they may be overly vigilant at times. They need to ensure that they do not infringe on an individual's rights by not following proper procedures. Breathalyzer tests should be given by trained officials, and legitimate Breathalyzer equipment should be used that has been maintained and tested for accuracy.

Any failure by law officials to follow the proper procedures could result in evidence being thrown out in court. If the evidence is thrown out or flawed, this is usually a good case for having the charges dropped. No one wants to be falsely or unfairly charged, as an impaired driving charge can affect a person's livelihood, reputation and insurance rates.

Source: MetroNews.ca, "Calgary sees decrease in impaired driving charges," Jeremy Simes, Jan. 11, 2016

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