Roughly 350 drivers received impairment tests at a New Year’s Eve sobriety checkpoint on Idylwyld Drive, resulting in 18 vehicles being impounded, four more than last year.
The checkstop was coordinated by the Saskatoon Police Department, Corman Park Police, Canadian Pacific Police and the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol.
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“We were looking for somewhere that would potentially have a lot of traffic,” SPS Staff Sgt. Patrick Barbar explained. “The southbound traffic on this road has no option but to come through our checkstop.”
Barbar was charged with running 13 of the city’s sobriety checkpoints in 2020, where he noticed a glaring difference between it, and other years.
“Generally at most checkstops we’ve dealt with more drivers under the influence of cannabis than of alcohol,” he said.
This was true again on New Year’s Eve, as 13 of the 18 charges laid against motorists were for either cannabis or cocaine impairment.
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However, the majority of the over 300 drivers who came through sober received free pizza coupons and a ribbon ribbon by members of the local chapter of MADD, who were also on the scene throughout the night.
“It takes a lot to get off of the couch at 9 o’clock, or 9:30 p.m,” MADD Saskatoon President Bonny Stevenson said. “But I always come home feeling quite rewarded by what we saw, or the feedback; how they respect what we do and what our role is out there.”
Besides receiving a gift, the sober drivers also get a chance to interact with the MADD advocates and hear their stories, as many members have lost loved ones.
They include the Stevensons, whose son Quinn was killed by an impaired driver in 2013.
“Their presence here not only has an impact on the motorist, but on the officers as well,” Barbar said. “It truly impacts people to see the true results of impaired driving.”
“It does actually show the impact of what we’re doing,” Stevenson concurred. “Getting that message out, and, I think, putting a face to it.”
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