Drunk driving on decline in P.E.I., but highway fatalities were up in 2015

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Transportation Minister Paula Biggar, left, and RCMP Constable Louanne McQuaid examine a roadside screening device used by police to determine if a driver has been drinking alcohol.

The rate of impaired driving in Prince Edward Island is gradually declining, according to statistics released Thursday.

But government and policing officials say the fight against drunk driving is far from over.

In 2015, there were 238 impaired driving convictions, a decrease from  241 in 2014, 297 in 2013 and 327 in 2012.

Commanding Officer of RCMP on P.E.I., Chief Supt. Joanne Crampton says police agencies across the Island continue to encounter drivers impaired by alcohol and drugs.

“To have to leave the scene of a motor vehicle collision to knock on someone's door and deliver the message that their loved one has been senselessly killed by an impaired driver is devastating," she said. "It would be great to never have to do it again.”

Transportation Minister Paula Biggar noted the number of people charged and convicted for impaired driving in 2015 was the lowest number on record.

“But we will continue to invest in education and enforcement to drive that number even lower,” said Biggar.

"The people who do this are endangering every user of our roads – including themselves – and I will continue to work to stop them.”

Other highway statistics released Thursday showed the number of highway fatalities were up over recent years.

There were 18 highway fatalities in 2015, compared to 5 in 2014, 15 in 2013 and 11 in 2012.

There were 379 injury collisions in 2015, compared to 390 in 2014, 465 in 2013 and 480 in 2012.

There were 1,544 total collisions in 2015, compared to 1,416 in 2014, 1,558 in 2013 and 1,638 in 2012.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Dissapointing
    February 27, 2016 - 03:59

    This article is misleading. The rate published is very misleading and attempts to spin it into a positive is irresponsible. Is the lower rate due to a reduction in enforcement? Are there less traffic stops and check points? How many vehicle stops occur between the hours of midnight and 5 am now compared to 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014? Create a statistics table and break the numbers down by district and municipality, see any trends? Go a little further and group the impaired charges as either reactive (impaired driver reported by the public, reports of a vehicle in the ditch or accident) or pro-active (while on patrol the police officer pro-actively pull a vehicle over, pro-actively conducted a check stop). I would suggest that charges resulting from pro-active policing has also dropped significantly since 2013. The timing is right for the policing services review.

  • In all due respect
    February 25, 2016 - 23:44

    PEI roads are full of Impaired Drivers, day and night. I would guess Police are only getting about 10% of them. Check the clubs at night and than see all vehicles gone in am, I would bet not everyone had a sober driver. People are getting stopped in the mornings with reading three times the limit. To say we are on the decrease is misleading. Point is Police are not getting them all. Clubs have to be monitored more as well liquor store outlets. People are being served here intoxicated and observed leaving all the time.

  • Misleading headline
    February 25, 2016 - 19:47

    This same message has been repeated in articles (yearly I suspect) published by The Guardian since 2012. I'll reiterate what other posters have quite rightly stated in this article as well as some of the previous articles. The fact that impaired charges and convictions are down in no way should translate to a conclusion that 'drunk driving is on decline'. There could be many reasons for the reduction in charges and convictions, a decline or reduction in enforcement might be a starting point, especially given the disbanding of the dedicated traffic enforcement team in late 2011/early 2012 (around the same time the reduction in charges and convictions begins), a team that focused on impaired driving enforcement across the island. A look at trends through an analysis of the numbers related to fatal and serious injury collisions caused by impairment over multiple years might be a starting point in terms of determining whether or not 'drunk driving is on decline', or on the rise..... The good news message contained in this article is that the police and government officials continue to recognize impaired driving as a huge problem and are continuing to focus on bringing these numbers down, obviously with the resources that are available to do so.

  • Misleading headline
    February 25, 2016 - 19:43

    This same message has been repeated in articles (yearly I suspect) published by The Guardian since 2012. I'll reiterate what other posters have quite rightly stated in some of the previous articles. The fact that impaired charges and convictions are down in no way should translate to a conclusion that 'drunk driving is on decline'. There could be many reasons for the reduction in charges and convictions, a decline or reduction in enforcement might be a starting point, especially given the disbanding of the dedicated traffic enforcement team in late 2011/early 2012 (around the same time the reduction in charges and convictions begins), a team that focused on impaired driving enforcement across the island. A look at trends through an analysis of the numbers related to fatal and serious injury collisions caused by impairment over multiple years might be a starting point in terms of determining whether or not 'drunk driving is on decline', or on the rise..... The good news message contained in this article is that the police and government officials continue to recognize impaired driving as a huge problem and are continuing to focus on bringing these numbers down, obviously with the resources that are available to do so.

  • Joe Doe
    February 25, 2016 - 12:06

    GOING DOWN,EVERY DAY I READ IN THE PAPER AT LEAST 4 IMPAIRED DRIVERS BLOWING THREE TIMES THE LEGAL LIMIT.

  • Dug
    February 25, 2016 - 11:19

    They would decline even more if cars were crushed / sold to pay fines and good old J.D. was removed from the bench.

  • Just Asking
    February 25, 2016 - 11:12

    Of the 18 fatalities in 2015, how many were due to impaired/drunk drivers?...I find it hard to believe that drunk driving is down when every day we are seeing drivers being charged with drunk driving on a daily basis, sometimes as many as 4 on the same day.What has decreased is the number of convictions, how about the number of charges laid where they have not yet come before the courts or have been acquitted for one reason or another?

  • Not True
    February 25, 2016 - 11:09

    When enforcement increases, impaired driving convictions increase. When enforcement decreases, convictions decrease. It is a complete falsehood to say drunk driving is on the decline.