Enforcing impaired driving remains top priority for police in 2023

By Jonathan Strom

Regional Police outlined what happened on the roads in 2022 as well as its priorities for 2023 at a board meeting on Wednesday. 

Fatalities dropped by 12 per cent in 2022 compared to the previous year with 13 fatal collisions in total. 

However, major injury collisions increased in 2022 as did cases of impaired driving. 

“Our impaired driving charges increased by 18 per cent in 2022 over 2021 with a total number of charges totalling 896,” said Scott Griffiths, staff sergeant with the Traffic Services Unit.

In 2023, police plan to increase R.I.D.E programs and are continuing to improve awareness about the dangers of impaired driving including through social media. 

Another increase in 2022 was the number of stunt driving charges which increased by 15 per cent with 531 charges laid. 

Griffiths also noted the 'fatal four offences' which were connected to close to half of the fatal collisions in the region this past year. Those offences are speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving, and seat belt violations. 

Of the 21,121 total road safety chargers that were laid in 2022, 9,442 were fatal four charges. 

“It comes up a lot in discussions regarding traffic services and WRPS traffic enforcement about the importance of the fatal four,” Griffiths said. “It cannot be understated that the fatal four are called those for a reason.”

Another focus for 2023 will be ensuring safety on rural roads. 46 per cent of fatal collisions in 2022 happened rurally as did a majority of collisions that led to significant injury. 

“We have the benefit of living in a region with beautiful rural areas, however, the roadway characteristics, and the speeds lead to higher negative outcomes,” Griffiths said. 

Again, enforcement and awareness will be key parts of the plan to tackle the high number of collisions on rural roads. 

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