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Impaired driving charges down during holiday checkstop program

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The Winnipeg Police Service stopped twice as many vehicles this past holiday season as they did during the 2011-2012 Checkstop program, but still laid fewer charges related to impaired driving.

The police traffic unit stopped 4,069 vehicles as part of the 2012-2013 Checkstop program and laid 43 charges for impaired driving, driving over the blood-alcohol limit or refusing a a blood-alcohol test, the Winnipeg Police Service announced today.

In 2011-2012, the unit stopped 1,901 vehicles during the same period but laid a total of 57 charges related to impaired driving. But it’s unclear whether this means Winnipeg motorists have heeded calls to avoid driving while impaired, as there are differences in Checkstop program operations from year to year.

The average age of a person charged with an offence was roughly the same during both seasons – 31 this year, vs. 33 in 2011-2012.

There also was not much of a change of the average blood-alcohol concentration of people charged with offences. The average impaired driver nabbed by police this year had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.16 per cent this season, vs. 0.17 per cent last season.

Anything over 0.05 per cent will trigger an overage offence in Manitoba, while anything over 0.08 per cent warrants a criminal charge for impaired driving.

The most impaired driver this year had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.3 per cent, or six times the provincial limit, according to the police statement. That level of intoxication usually results in unconsciousness and can result in death.

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