A meeting was held yesterday which brought together the Mayor of Estevan, Estevan's MLA, members of both the Estevan RCMP and Police Service, along with fire department, SGI and local restaurant owners to try and brainstorm ways to bring down the impaired driving numbers.
"A total of 57 people were killed in Saskatchewan in 2016 alone," shared Police Chief, Paul Ladouceur. "Impaired Driving is the leading criminal cause of death in this province."
"We hold the unfortunate place of being the worse province in Canada when it comes to impaired driving. Having said that, there's some very positive news coming through the stats are we seeing those numbers stop to drop which is very good. However, we have a long, long, long way to go."
"Our numbers locally there's a drastic decline in the number of impaireds that we are seeing in the city from 2013 to the present day. The problem with statistics is if you step up enforcement, you may see more impaired drivers arrested."
"The positive thing that we're seeing is through the CTSS program where we're seeing an increase in enforcement on the highways and more high visibility check-stops, we're seeing a decrease in impaired driving."
Ladouceur adds that impaired driving is still a problem and impacts almost everyone.
"We're here as a police service to say, what else can we be doing that we're not doing? We can legislate impaired driving to death, no pun intended, but at the end of the day, there needs to be more."
He added that driving impaired needs to be viewed as negatively as shooting someone.
"When someone gets into a car after drinking, they're making the choice at that time that they might take a life."
Ladouceur notes that the high visibility check-stops are in effect and will continue.
"We've stepped the number of high visibility check-stops. The commitment that we're making as a police service moving towards 2018 is that those checks will continue with or without provincial support. There is a commitment from this police service that we will be doing high visibility check-stops day, night, weekend, Sunday afternoons because we've had people drinking and driving and dropping their kids off at school in the morning. Completly unacceptable."
"Drinking and driving doesn't just happen on a Saturday, Sunday night, it happens at all times."
Ladouceur added that they have used the media and social media to get the word out as well as going into schools.