MHPS cracks down on impaired driving and safe parking

By Taylor Chartrand - with files from the MHPS
December 1, 2018 - 9:58am

Medicine Hat, AB - For the month of December, the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) has decided to focus on a couple issues throughout the city.

First, the Strategic Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) will be keeping a watchful eye out for impaired driving.

With Christmas gatherings happening more frequently, Police are stressing the importance of planning a safe ride home. 

Throughout the holiday season, Police say Hatters can expect an increased officer presence, as check stops are conducted in an effort to promote safer roads.

As of November 30th, the MHPS has laid 130 impaired driving charges and issued an additional 77 suspensions related to alcohol/drug related driving offences. In addition, Police have attended 27 motor vehicle collisions involving alcohol/drugs.

Alcohol impairment remains as one of the highest contributors to fatal collisions and the goal of the MHPS Traffic Safety Plan, is to eliminate alcohol related collisions on city roads. Officials say this can only be reached through education, a zero-tolerance enforcement and cooperation from all motorists.

On December 18th, the Criminal Code of Canada impaired driving laws are changing and will provide Police with more authority to investigate impaired driving. 

Remember, alcohol and drugs are proven to severely impact reaction times and perception, putting everyone on or near roadways at risk.

In addition to impaired driving, the Bylaw Education and Enforcement Program (BEEP) will focus on safe parking practices for the month of December.

As people are hurrying to complete their Christmas shopping, it's no secret that parking lots are filled with a lot activity. People can be rushed, road surfaces can be slick and available spots can be tough to find. 

The Public Roads Bylaw (#4346) is the bylaw to be referred to for the following common parking lot offences: 

-Even if you are only going in for a minute, parking in a fire lane is prohibited. The fine could be $50, as these spaces are for emergency personnel only, at all times.

-Loading zones are clearly marked and parking there for any reason other than loading also carries a $50 fine.

-If you have a handicapped placard, be sure to display it. Unless you are authorized to do so, parking in these spots could pile up to a $200 fine.

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