The Yukon continues to have high rates of impaired driving.
According to the latest information from Statistics Canada, the Yukon had the second-highest rate of impaired driving incidents in the country for 2011.
Rates are calculated based on reported incidents per every 100,000 people. The Yukon’s rate was just over 943, over three times greater than the national average of just under 262. Only the Northwest Territories had a higher rate.
In 2011, there were 327 impaired driving cases reported by police in the Yukon. Most of these involved alcohol. There was one case of impaired driving causing death, and five of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
These numbers were reflected in the courts. Impaired driving cases made up 17 per cent of cases heard that year.
Last year, there were 130 people charged with impaired driving or driving with a blood alcohol level of over 0.08, said Const. Andrew West, with the RCMP’s traffic division. Another eight people refused to take breathalyzer tests.
The numbers show more people are calling to report suspected impaired drivers, said West. But the police are also continuing to make it a priority, he said. They had three check stops set up for Rendezvous. These resulted in two impaired drivers being arrested, said West.
The more information the public can provide about suspected impaired drivers, the better, he said.
And it continues to be a disturbing trend. “We still have a core group of people who don’t seem to take drunk driving seriously,” said Const. Christine Grant with the Whitehorse detachment. “It’s 2013 now. … It’s the responsibility of everybody. You see somebody get into a vehicle, and you know that they’ve been drinking, call someone. Take their keys.” (Meagan Gillmore)