Holiday traffic blitz nets impairment charges

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A month-long holiday traffic enforcement campaign led to charges for over a dozen territory residents, RCMP reported.

During Operation Gingerbread – a territory-wide traffic blitz carried out from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 – a total of 1,830 vehicles were stopped throughout the NWT.

Those stops resulted in 14 impaired driving charges and 13 24-hour driving suspensions, stated Const. Heather Cosenzo of the Yellowknife RCMP in an email.

Four of the suspensions were related to drug impairment – cannabis or other drugs excluding alcohol – where standardized field sobriety tests were conducted.

A total of 196 warnings and 69 tickets were handed out to drivers during the blitz, which was launched on National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day.

Police recorded 11 fewer impaired driving charges compared to last year’s campaign, but 2017’s blitz stopped 130 more vehicles during the month of December.

Twenty three-month suspensions, 12 34-hour suspensions, 47 tickets and 223 warnings were issued last year.

Police officers equipped with approved screening devices were granted the authority to demand breath samples without reasonable suspicion of impairment on Dec. 18.

Last month’s initiative saw 54 approved screening device tests for alcohol conducted, stated Cosenzo.

“The information wasn’t recorded as to whether it was under the new legislation or not,” Cosenzo stated when asked if number of demands increased under new laws.

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at editorial@nnsl.com.

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