Winnipeg police out in full force to keep roads safe during the holidays

WINNIPEG — With Operation Red Nose not operating this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and new provincial health orders in place, the Winnipeg Police Service said they will be stepping up their efforts to catch impaired drivers in the coming weeks.

During a news conference on Friday, police said the Holiday Checkstop Program will look different this year. Instead of defined checkpoints, officers will be out in full force around Winnipeg to look for impaired drivers.

Const. Stephane Fontaine with the Winnipeg Police Service said the current public health orders have prompted the change to the check stop program.

“Our biggest concern is to reduce as many contacts or unnecessary contacts that we would typically expect during a check stop season,” he said. “That makes it difficult to enforce some of these laws because we’re not stopping as many people as we would in our traditional fashion.

“However, I can assure you that the officers are still out and about, searching and being aware of potential impaired drivers, and we will deal with them appropriately.”

Const. Rob Carver with the Winnipeg police said despite the closure of licensed establishments and a reduction in social contacts under the current public health orders, police are still seeing impaired driving instances.

Between Dec. 1 and 15, Carver said nine people aged 25 to 41 were charged with impaired driving offences, adding many of the incidents occurred during the morning and evening rush hour.

“Four incidents involved motor vehicle collisions, where the drivers were impaired by alcohol,” Carver said, adding no serious injuries were reported.

Carver added all of the impaired drivers had a blood alcohol concentration of at least twice the statutory limit, with one driver having a concentration more than three times the legal limit.

Carver advised residents to use taxis, transit, or ride-sharing options that are still operating to get home if they’ve been drinking.

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