The number of arrests for impaired driving has changed only slightly in the past year. — Star photo by Gary Kean
CORNER BROOK While it seems like impaired drivers continue to make the court docket almost daily, the trends in western Newfoundland indicate the number of incidents may be on the decline.
Figures for within the city of Corner Brook, although, seem to show that the number of people caught driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs has been somewhat steady in recent years.
According to statistics provided by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in Corner Brook this week, there were a total of 99 reports of possibly impaired drivers generated by tips provided by the general public or by files generated by RNC officers on duty in the city so far in 2013. Of those incidents, 27 drivers were found to be over the legal limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or impaired by drug.
Up to around the same date in August 2012, 30 drivers out of 101 incidents were deemed impaired, while there were 25 impaired drivers out of 105 incidents reported in the first eight months of 2011.
The difference in the number of reported incidents and violations are considered unfounded complaints.
“It’s pretty much on par for us over the past three years during this period,” said Const. Robert Edwards of the RNC.
The number of incidents and violations seems to be declining outside the city, according to the numbers provided by the RCMP for its detachments ranging from Port aux Basques in the south to St. Anthony in the north and Springdale to the east.
According to those figures, impaired driving violations are down 33 per cent so far this year, compared to last year.
From Jan. 1 to July 31, 2013, the RCMP in those districts combined received a total of 272 reported violations. Out of those incidents, a total of 64 charges have been laid.
That does not necessarily mean 64 people have been charged.
“One offender can commit two or three violations in one impaired driving incident,” said Sgt. Marc Coulombe of the RCMP in an email.
There was no breakdown of how many people were charged.
During the first seven months of 2012, there were 96 charges filed as a result of 359 reports. That number was down from 105 charges laid in relation to 304 complaints in 2011 and 149 charges on the books from the 379 complaints received in 2010.
A breakdown of the difference between the number of instances of impairment by drug versus impairment by alcohol for the west coast was unavailable. According to the RCMP, though, 96 per cent of the impaired driving incidents across Newfoundland and Labrador between 2010 and 2013 involved alcohol, with drugs accounting for the remaining four per cent.
The RCMP believes an increase in proactive enforcement efforts, such as checkpoints being conducted in its jurisdictions, has been curbing the number of traffic violations, including impaired driving.