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Drunk driving arrests spike

<p>Police are frustrated that people who choose to drive while intoxicated are still not getting the message after charging close to 2,000 motorists with impaired driving last year.</p>

Nealy 2,000 charged with impaired driving



Staff Sgt. Bill Horne, left, recently spoke to the public about the amount of drunk driving charges in Edmonton last year.



Police are frustrated that people who choose to drive while intoxicated are still not getting the message after charging close to 2,000 motorists with impaired driving last year.



The number is a significant increase from 2006, which saw 1,546 impaired drivers caught drunk behind the wheel by police, says Staff. Sgt. Bill Horne.



"We’re dealing with drunks — you can’t get the message to a drunk or talk to a drunk," he said. "Unfortunately, these decisions are being made when those people are drunk."



Police credit the higher number of charges this year to its new snitch line — Curb the Danger — where callers can phone in to report vehicles that are driving erratically on the road.



Over 8,400 callers — an average of 23 calls a day — reported suspected drivers last year to the service’s snitch line, resulting in 827 charges, says Horne.



"Impaired drivers need to be on notice that it is not a matter of if they will be caught, but when," said Horne.



Gladys Shelstad, president of the local chapter for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says she’s happy with the Curb the Danger program, but is angry that more drivers are not getting the message.



"These numbers should be decreasing," she said. "Just the fact the Curb the Danger program is out there and operating, it should make people aware that everyone is out there watching them."



During the police service’s holiday Checkstop campaign, Horne says half of the motorists charged with impaired driving were between 26 and 35 years old. The vast majority, 88 per cent, charged during the holiday crackdown were also male.



















year-to-year





The following is a year by year breakdown on the amount of impaired charges Edmonton police have laid:



  • 2007- 1,955 charges

  • 2006- 1,546 charges

  • 2005- 1,483 charges

  • 2004- 1,687 charges


 
 
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