Impaired Driving measures the number of EPS-reported criminal incidents of impaired driving. Impaired driving is a leading cause of criminal death in Canada, as well as a significant factor for traffic collisions, injuries, and fatalities. Impaired driving was a factor in 52% of traffic fatalities in Edmonton in 2014.
A driver will face a criminal charge of impaired driving when they exceed a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08, or when there is other evidence that a driver is impaired by alcohol. The number of incidents here also includes impairment by narcotics or prescription medication, or when cooperation with testing for alcohol or drugs is refused.
The EPS is committed to target Impaired Driving through education and enforcement. In addition to day-to-day traffic enforcement by patrol and specialized traffic resources, EPS employs several proactive programs to target impaired driving.
The roadside Checkstop program is a year-round EPS campaign of stationary points on roadways where vehicles are contacted by police to ensure drivers are sober. Checkstop includes the activities from Target All Drunk Drivers (TADD), where following the closing of a Checkstop point, officers will patrol to make contact with any vehicles that draw their attention with the primary goal of checking the driver's sobriety. Beyond stopping those who are driving impaired and creating an immediate public safety risk, Checkstop aims to change the public attitude toward drinking and driving so they don't get into that vehicle impaired to begin with. The key message of this program is, "If you drink and drive, you will be caught".
Estimates for the number of vehicles checked as a result of the EPS Checkstop program, as well as statistics of resulting criminal impaired driving charges or roadside suspensions are tracked and available here. In 2015, for every 100 vehicles checked from Checkstop points or from TADD, 1.7 vehicles received an impaired driving arrest, and 2.3 vehicles received a roadside suspension.
Curb the Danger
EPS's Curb the Danger program has been available since 2006. The public can call 911 when they spot someone they suspect is driving impaired, and if possible report the vehicles last direction of travel, make of vehicle, and license plate. These 911 calls are automatically given Priority 1 status, meaning EPS places its highest priority to locate these moving events. When EPS is unable to locate the suspected impaired driver, letters are sent to registered owners and EPS internally tracks repeat license plates. The number of Curb The Danger calls, as well as other statistics resulting from the program is available here. In 2015, EPS intercepted 29% of the vehicles called in from Curb The Danger. Of these intercepted vehicles, 35% resulted in an impaired driving arrest or roadside suspension.
In late 2012, the Alberta government implemented tougher sanctions for impaired driving. The most notable change was the addition of a non-criminal offence to drive with a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08. Punishments include immediate license suspensions and temporary vehicle seizures, and escalating punishments for continual offenders. For questions and answers on impaired driving, see knowthelimits.ca.
In 2017, Edmonton had the 8th highest Impaired Driving Rate (Incidents per 100,000 population) among the 25 largest police jurisdictions in Canada. Source: Statistics Canada, tables associated with 35-10-0177-01.