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Impaired driving education, enforcement the focus of police in August

People in Fort Macleod and across Alberta continue to make the dangerous decision to drink and drive.
Police have charged an average of 8,600 people with impaired driving in each of the past five years in Alberta.
“The consequences are so great,” Const. Troy Heystek of Fort Macleod RCMP said. “It just takes a few minutes of preparation before you go out, to find a safe ride.”
August is Impaired Driving Month.
The RCMP, in co-operation with Town of Fort Macleod community peace officers, will conduct checkstops in August.
“Until it happens to you, you don’t really think of the consequences,” Heystek said.
The initial consequence for someone charged for the first time with impaired driving is a $1,200 fine and one-year driving suspension.
“What happens then, you possibly can’t go to work, you can’t provide money for food and shelter for your family,” Heystek said. “Plus the shame of being caught for impaired driving.”
“On the other end, you’ve had a few drinks, you get into a collision, and you kill somebody — that’s the ultimate price,” Heystek added. “Now we have a family member, whether it be a child, a mom, dad, a sister or a brother — they’re never coming back.”
Heystek said people need to consider whether they will consume alcohol and if so, how they will get home or to their next destination safely.
“The big thing is, people need to think ahead,” Heystek said.
That means considering whether they will call a taxi, appoint a designated driver or arrange for someone to pick them up.
“These are all things that people need to think of before they head out on the town,” Heystek said.
Heystek said there is more work to be done in educating people about the danger of drinking and driving.
Men aged 18 to 21 years are at highest risk of being involved in an alcohol-rated crash.
One in five drivers involved in fatal crashes had consumed alcohol prior to the crash.
That compares to an average of one in 20 drivers involved in injury crashes.
As the severity of the crash increases, so does the likelihood it involves a driver who has consumed alcohol.
From 2009-’13, on average each year almost 90 people were killed and 1,330 people were injured in collisions involving at least one driver who had consumed alcohol.
Most injury crashes involving alcohol occur on weekends. The most likely time period on any day is between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.