Nabbed!

RCMP get­ting bet­ter at nab­bing im­paired driv­ers

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY DENISE PIKE dpike@cb­n­com­pass.ca

For some rea­son some peo­ple are still choos­ing to ig­nore all the dan­gers and con­se­quences that come from drink­ing and driv­ing, but even­tu­ally they're go­ing to get caught.

Pla­cen­tia-Whit­bourne District RCMP say there isn’t a spike in the num­ber of drunk driv­ers in the area, po­lice of­fi­cers are just get­ting bet­ter at catch­ing them.

“ We don’t think there are more peo­ple drink­ing and then get­ting be­hind the wheel of their car, we’re just get­ting bet­ter at catch­ing the ones who do,” says Sergeant Boyd Mer­rill. “ Our in­creased en­force­ment is prov­ing to be very ef­fec­tive. Our mem­bers are vig­i­lant; they’re out there mak­ing sure the roads and high­ways are safe and are watch­ing out for im­paired driv­ers all the time and best of all, they’re catch­ing them.”

Over the Jan. 22-24 week­end mem­bers of the Pla­cen­ti­aWhit­bourne district nabbed three drunk driv­ers and charges may be laid against a fourth.

Around 11 p.m. Fri­day, Jan. 22 a woman was charged with re­fus­ing the breathal­yser af­ter she was pulled over by po­lice near Nor­man’s Cove. The woman failed the road­side screen­ing de­vice, re­ceived a 90day sus­pen­sion and was taken to the po­lice sta­tion in Whit­bourne. A court date has been set for pro­vin­cial court in St. John’s.

The fol­low­ing day, Satur­day, Jan. 23 around 12: 15 a. m., of­fi­cers re­sponded to a sin­gle rollover car crash in White­way. The man was taken to the Carbonear Gen­eral Hospi­tal where po­lice at­tempted to give him the breath­a­lyzer. Be­cause he re­fused he was charged with fail­ure to take the breath­a­lyzer. A court date has been set Grace.

Mean­while on Sun­day Jan. 24 at about 1:55 a.m. a man was is­sued a 90-day driv­ing sus­pen­sion af­ter fail­ing a road­side breathal­yser test

for

Har­bour

“For some rea­son some peo­ple are choos­ing to ig­nore all the dan­gers and con­se­quences that come from drink­ing and

driv­ing, but even­tu­ally they’re go­ing to get caught.”

– RCMP Sergeant Boyd Mer­rill

near Nor­mans Cove.

About 8:30 a.m. the same morn­ing, an­other male was in­volved in an ATV crash re­sult­ing in in­jury near South Dildo. Be­cause of his in­juries he was un­able to take the Breath­a­lyzer so he was given a blood de­mand.

Po­lice be­lieve the male was im­paired at the time of the crash. Once his blood is an­a­lyzed, fur­ther charges could be laid

That same week­end Pla­cen­ti­aWhit­bourne RCMP also re­ceived re­ports of two other sus­pected im­paired driv­ers, but were un­able to lo­cate the in­di­vid­u­als.

“ We found the ve­hi­cles, but they were empty,” said Mer­rill.

Im­paired driv­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions are for the most part the re­sult of proac­tive po­lice work: po­lice of­fi­cers pa­trol and ob­serve driv­ers for signs of im­pair­ment like slow driv­ing, driv­ing without their lights on, speed­ing, or weav­ing in and out of their lane.

Pla­cen­tia-Whit­bourne RCMP mem­bers use road­blocks and other tac­tics day and night to help them catch drunk driv­ers. They also rely on in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lic.

“A lot of the tips we get come from Crime Stop­pers or just av­er­age cit­i­zens who see some­one driv­ing er­rat­i­cally and re­port it,” says Mer­rill. “ The com­mu­nity is re­ally in­volved in help­ing us ap­pre­hend th­ese drunk driv­ers. Tar­get­ing im­paired driv­ing saves lives.”

Mean­while drink­ing and driv­ing con­tin­ues to cause death and in­jury on New­found­land and Labrador’s roads. Each year there are more than 700 drink­ing and driv­ing con­vic­tions recorded in the prov­ince. An es­ti­mated 85 to 90 per­cent of con­victed driv­ers are first-time of­fend­ers.

“For some rea­son some peo­ple are choos­ing to ig­nore all the dan­gers and con­se­quences that come from drink­ing and driv­ing, but even­tu­ally they’re go­ing to get caught,” says Mer­rill. “If they don’t end up de­stroy­ing their lives, they are go­ing to ruin some­one else’s. Ab­so­lutely no good comes from im­paired driv­ing. It’s time it was ex­tinct, just like the di­nosaur.”

File photo

Sgt. Boyd Mer­rill, Pla­cen­tia-Whit­bourne RCMP

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