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Albertans urged not to drink and drive

Fort Macleod and district residents and people across the province are urged not to drive drunk this holiday season.
Alberta Office of Traffic Safety and its partners are working to reduce impaired driving, which kills more than 90 people each year in the province.
“Driving is a complex task and it really does demand all of your attention,” Transportation Minister Brian Mason said. “Impairment makes it all that more difficult. This holiday season, if you are going out for an evening which may include having a few drinks, have a plan; arrange to have a sober friend drive you home, call a taxi or take public transit.”
According to the Alberta Office of Traffic Safety, drivers in fatal collisions were five times more likely than those in injury collisions to have consumed alcohol.
An average of 80 people were killed and more than 1,250 were injured in collisions involving a drinking driver in each of the past five years.
Men aged 20 to 21 years are most likely to have consumed alcohol prior to a crash, and male drivers are four times more likely than female drivers to have consumed alcohol prior to a crash.
The majority of crashes involving alcohol that result in injuries occur on the weekends, with most taking place between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.
One in six drivers involved in fatal crashes last year had been drinking prior to the collision. This compares to one in 30 drivers involved in crashes that resulted in injuries.
The Alberta Office of Traffic Safety pointed out that as the severity of the crash increases, so does the likelihood the crash will involve a drinking driver.
“Throughout the upcoming festive season, integrated traffic units consisting of Sheriffs and RCMP officers throughout the province will have an increased presence on our highways,” said Rick Gardner, deputy director of Alberta Sheriffs traffic operations. “We will be stopping vehicles, screening drivers and apprehending those who are impaired.”
Impaired driving comes in many forms — alcohol, over-the-counter, prescription and illegal drugs, distraction, and fatigue.
It is estimated that about 20 per cent of fatal crashes in Canada involve driver fatigue.
Research indicates that driver distraction contributes to 20 to 30 per cent of all crashes.
Across Canada, one third of drivers who died in crashes who were tested were found to have consumed drugs.
“It’s not just about the impaired driver,” said RCMP Superintendent Ian Lawson, officer in charge of Alberta RCMP traffic service. “It’s about friends and family stepping up to make sure the people in their lives are sober when they get behind the wheel.”
The RCMP marked its seventh National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day on Friday with a Canada-wide Checkstop blitz.
“Insisting a friend crash on your couch is better than having them crash on the road,” Lawson said. “Especially if you know they shouldn’t be driving.”
People are urged to report impaired drivers to 911.

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