Zero tol­er­ance

Some big ones that didn’t get away ( from RCMP)


Net­ting im­paired driv­ers it seems is not un­like fish­ing. You just have to be pa­tient enough to wait for them to take the bait. That pa­tience has paid off for the RCMP, who are con­tin­u­ing their pol­icy of zero tol­er­ance to­wards such crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

Pla­cen­tia Whit­bourne RCMP hooked a drunk driver on his way home from ice fish­ing last week.

The 44-year old man from St. John’s was one of four im­paired driv­ers caught by mem­bers of the de­tach­ment dur­ing the week of Jan. 25 to Feb.1.

The man had just come back from fish­ing and was sit­ting in his truck in the Pla­cen­tia Junc­tion area when po­lice spot­ted him.

“ Two of our guys, a fisheries of­fi­cer and an RCMP of fi­cer, were pa­trolling the area on their ATV’s when they came across the ve­hi­cle with the man in it,” says Sergeant Boyd Mer­rill. “He blew twice the le­gal limit on the breath­a­lyzer. That’s a lot of liquor.”

The man was charged and a court date has been set for March in St John’s.

Mean­while that same week Pla­cen­tia-Whit­bourne RCMP caught an­other male in the Pla­cen­tia Fresh­wa­ter area, sit­ting in the driver’s seat of his ve­hi­cle, hav­ing a few beers. Charges were laid against the 22-year old and a court date is pend­ing.

Pla­cen­tia-Whit­bourne RCMP landed two other drunk driv­ers that same week.

“ Th­ese were traf­fic re­lated stops. Both in­di­vid­u­als were not only be­hind the wheel of their ve­hi­cles, they were driv­ing,” said Mer­rill.

In­creased en­force­ment

Less pa­per work and more high­way and com­mu­nity pa­trol could be part of the rea­son of­fi­cers at the de­tach­ment are ap­pre­hend­ing more drunk driv­ers.

“Our mem­bers are out there more than they have ever been,” says Mer­rill. “ We’re do­ing all we can to al­le­vi­ate the deskwork and data that is part of the job so our of­fi­cers can spend more time out pa­trolling the com­mu­nity and high­ways. We’re real- ly see­ing the re­sults of th­ese ef­forts show­ing up in our en­force­ment.”

Keep­ing our com­mu­nity’s and high­ways safe and pro­tect­ing peo­ple is our goal. It’s what our of­fi­cers are trained to do and it’s what they want to spend their time do­ing.”

The sergeant says of­fi­cers have a zero tol­er­ance pol­icy for al­co­hol, whether it is with peo­ple on the trails, sit­ting in their ve­hi­cles or on the road­ways.

“ If you are im­paired and sit­ting be­hind the wheel of your ve­hi­cle and have the abil­ity to put the ve­hi­cle in mo­tion and put the pub­lic at risk, you can be charged,” says Mer­rill.

“Any­one who has the care or con­trol of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle while im­paired or has a blood al­co­hol con­cen­tra­tion above 80 mil­ligrams is com­mit­ting a very se­ri­ous crim­i­nal of­fence.”

Charges for care and con­trol may in­clude a fine, jail time or loss of driver’s li­cence.

“ That’s bad enough, but it’s all mi­nor com­pared to hav­ing to live with the fact that you took some­one else’s life,” says Mer­rill.

Care and con­trol of Ski doos

Mean­while in the past month RCMP, across the prov­ince, have also ap­pre­hended a num­ber of im­paired snow­mo­bil­ers who have been op­er­at­ing, or have had care and con­trol of, their mo­tor­ized snow ve­hi­cles.

Ac­cord­ing to the Crim­i­nal Code of Canada it is il­le­gal to con­sume al­co­hol or drugs while op­er­at­ing a mo­tor­ized snow ve­hi­cle. If caught a per­son can be fined up to $1,500 or im­pris­on­ment for 12 months.

In ad­di­tion a per­son con­victed of be­ing im­paired while op­er­at­ing a snow­mo­bile risks the same penalty as if con­victed of op­er­at­ing an au­to­mo­bile while im­paired.

Laws to ob­serve while op­er­at­ing snow­mo­biles in­clude:

• Snow­mo­biles must be reg­is­tered to the cur­rent owner.

• It is il­le­gal to op­er­ate a snow­mo­bile on a road­way.

• It is il­le­gal to op­er­ate or move a snow­mo­bile across a high­way un­less at a 90-de­gree an­gle at those points where the op­er­a­tor has at least 100 yards vis­i­bil­ity in both di­rec­tions.

• It is il­le­gal for a per­son to op­er­ate a snow­mo­bile un­der the age of 13 un­less di­rectly be­ing su­per­vised by a per­son who is 19 years of age or older.

• It is il­le­gal to op­er­ate a snow­mo­bile without an ad­e­quate noise re­duc­tion sys­tem.

• It is il­le­gal to op­er­ate a snow­mo­bile without con­sid­er­a­tion to the gen­eral pub­lic.

• It is il­le­gal to op­er­ate a snow­mo­bile on an iden­ti­fied trail without a valid trail sticker.

All of the above of­fences carry a fine of $115 for a first time of­fence.

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