Whitehorse Daily Star

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DANGEROUS PRACTICE CONTINUES – As the new decade dawns, a discouraging number of Yukoners continue to drive while impaired – with a range of nonsensical reasons for doing so, the territory’s RCMP report. Photo courtesy RCMP

Yukoners are still driving impaired, police report

An impaired driver zooming through a school zone is just one example of the type of traffic behaviour Whitehorse RCMP and Yukon RCMP Traffic Services have had to deal with in 2020.

By Whitehorse Star on January 16, 2020

An impaired driver zooming through a school zone is just one example of the type of traffic behaviour Whitehorse RCMP and Yukon RCMP Traffic Services have had to deal with in 2020.

Traffic enforcements from Jan. 1-9 nabbed 12 suspected impaired drivers off the roads, police said Wednesday afternoon.

Of the 12, five drivers received alcohol or drug-related roadside suspensions, while three will face criminal charges.

Excuses for failing the tests, police said, included:

• “I just woke up from the place I was drunk at”;

• “I was drunk but had a nap”; and

• “I am drunk, but not so drunk I can’t drive.”

“It’s truly staggering to discover the number of people who are still getting behind the wheel while a, either by drugs, prescribed or illegal, or alcohol,” said Cpl. Natasha Dunmall of Yukon RCMP Traffic Services.

“Even more troubling is when we stopped an impaired driver speeding through an elementary school zone on a Thursday afternoon, in broad daylight.

“This could have had a disastrous consequence considering the high volume of children, general public and other motorists in the immediate area.”

In addition to the impaired investigations, Yukon RCMP Traffic Services issued 53 tickets and impounded six vehicles for various infractions in the Whitehorse area alone over the first week and a half of January.

“Police across the Yukon Territory are always on the lookout for impaired drivers,” police said.

“We will be even more focused in our efforts to get impaired drivers off our roadways. There is no excuse to drive while impaired.”

Here are some police tips to plan a safe trip:

• Arrange for a designated driver with family and friends.

• Plan ahead to take a bus or a taxi.

• Stay sober yourself, and provide safe transportation for friends.

“As we continue to experience extreme weather conditions, impacting visibility for both drivers and pedestrians, Yukon RCMP reminds all motorists and pedestrians to remain vigilant, slow down and be prepared with cold weather gear or equipment for a breakdown or disruption,” police said.

Comments (18)

Up 2 Down 9

Apex Parasite on Jan 22, 2020 at 10:48 am

Wanna know an example of severely impaired driving? Following a government plow truck with 4 or more "strobe" lights of different colors and different placements randomly flashing within a stroboscopic multicolored cloud of blowing snow creating a ridiculously disorienting effect that I can't believe they even allow. I'm surprised there hasn't been an epileptic triggering from the effect. Much better were the lights to simply flash at a steady even pace.

Up 11 Down 0

Dentist on Jan 21, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Gladúe discounts should not not be used in any situation where actions that threaten innocent people’s lives occur. Names and pictures should be published of those who are guilty of this stupid crime.

Up 17 Down 3

Whitehorse Resident on Jan 20, 2020 at 3:30 pm

I still don't understand why RCMP can't sit outside Whiskey Jacks, looking for infractions. I mean, you can't pull someone over simply because they left a bar, but at least sit there, and let people know you're watching. And if someone does something stupid like run a stop sign, well there's your cause to pull them over.

If the goal is to make the streets safer, then just having an RCMP presence outside these places should help, no?

Up 11 Down 5

Miles Epanhauser on Jan 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Habitual impaired drivers should find a drinking place within walking distance.

If you get lost or fall asleep in a snowbank then it's just you and not innocent people who get hurt. Of course you may traumatize first responders if they find you frozen like clothing left on a clothesline

Up 13 Down 16

Apex Parasite on Jan 20, 2020 at 11:28 am

I get it, the need to battle impaired driving, but booze and drugs are low hanging fruit in the "impaired driving" world.
Many, many reasons for the impaired driving scenarios but we only choose to focus on the most obvious ones when there are in fact other significant scenarios that have a similar risk factor but go ignored. This speaks to a societal discounting of the risks and plays into a "I'll probably be fine as long as i'm not drunk or high" mindset.

Suppose one has had a restless night for some reason and has not been able to sleep adequately. Very important that one gets sufficient rest and when not rested an impaired level of function will be observed. Very few bosses will consider this and 95% of us will drive in the above scenario.

Many factors. Stress, over the counter cold meds, vehicle exhaust in very cold temps, time crunches, momentary distractions at critical times, rushing the yellow light, needless passing, slow drivers forcing others to pass, etc. All represent various levels of impaired driving yet we focus solely on the easiest to gauge and account for and ignore the rest

Not saying that drunk driving shouldn't need to be a focus but it seems really to be a token effort in a larger mindset that "impaired" driving is largely acceptable as long as one is not drunk or stoned.

Up 10 Down 4

Math question on Jan 20, 2020 at 10:50 am

"Of the 12, 5 received suspensions and 3 received criminal charges."

What happened the other 1/3 of impaired drivers?

Up 15 Down 3

Groucho d'North on Jan 19, 2020 at 4:05 pm

I did some research and Ontario jurisdictions are starting to publish the names of drunk drivers caught in the act, so some pollitcians are listening to the public. Time will tell if this action will have the desired result of reducing drunks behnd the wheel.
Goggle it- there are many results.

Up 31 Down 5

Old Timer on Jan 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

Someone convicted of impaired driving should be mandated to carry a sticker on his car that says "Be careful, convicted impaired driver".

Up 11 Down 12

Mario Lopez on Jan 17, 2020 at 7:30 pm

and JJ - That willingness is greatly influenced by the general tenor set by the courts.

From the Whitehorse Daily Star -August 7, 2017:
“The Yukon Court of Appeal has cut a sentence of more than three years to just less than two years.
The decision in Arthur Joe’s case was released Friday.
The court of the appeal ruled the sentencing judge did not take into account Joe’s aboriginal background in determining the sentence.”

“Mr. Joe has a lengthy but somewhat dated criminal record of 12 previous convictions for drinking and driving offences, four convictions for driving while prohibited, numerous convictions for failing to comply with court orders, two convictions for spousal assault, and a number of convictions for property-related offences,” it’s noted.

Because he has suffered systemic discrimination he gets the Gladue Discount... But there are others with similar track records doing their thing on our streets. Had you all not been complicit in the discrimination of Indigenous people’s he might have received a fit sentence.

Up 18 Down 9

Groucho d'North on Jan 17, 2020 at 3:09 pm

@I don't drink..
The court docket only lists the people scheduled for a court case to be heard and you need to visit the Justice building to read it. Some of these people will be found not guilty so no need to embarass them any further. I submit publishing the names of the people CONVICTED of impaired driving in local media so we'll know who they are: Doctors, Lawyers, teachers, coaches and all others who would suffer the scorn of the public when their deadly habits are revealled for all to see. So many other approaches have been attempted over the years with poor results in curbing DUI drivers. I think naming these offenders would work to reduce the practice. Who cares if these criminals and their families will be embarassed, they care nothing about the other people they put at risk by their illegal activities. To hell with them.

Up 17 Down 10

Juniper Jackson on Jan 17, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Nearly everyone drives impaired in Whitehorse. People driving on ice, with hot coffee in one hand, people talking on their cells, people driving by chowing down on a burger, running red lights, stop signs, don't stop for a pedestrian.. and yeah.. booze and drugs. No one is charged, and that's even if they're caught. People are hit, people are killed.. and drivers just keep speeding away, and deliberately impairing their ability to drive safely, to be alert.. so?
What is the answer? Education didn't work.. there isn't a soul on the planet that doesn't know about impaired driving.. No second chances? well..you can't drive impaired if you don't have a car.. Notify the driver's insurance? Insurance companies don't like impaired drivers either.. notify their job? i like that one.. employer's also don't like impaired drivers..

Dave is correct as well.. Any law is only as good as the people's willingness to abide by it. For many, they are simply not willing to live within the motor vehicles laws.

Up 30 Down 6

Tom Stevens on Jan 17, 2020 at 12:01 pm

The amount of alcoholism and substance abuse is directly related to the number of impaired drivers.. not rocket science people....

Up 42 Down 6

Mitch on Jan 17, 2020 at 10:27 am

Besides publicly naming anyone charged with impaired driving, they should have to install a breathalyzer ignition device on their vehicle for a year. Even on their first offence because we all know it is not the first time they drove impaired, it was just the first time they were caught.

Up 34 Down 4

Dave on Jan 17, 2020 at 3:01 am

Well a certain group of drivers who drive unlicensed, prohibited, suspended or with no insurance or registration pretty much just do whatever they want anyways. What is yet another unpaid fine or additional driving suspension for an impaired that they just ignore like all the others. If the police catch them driving and impound their old beater they just find another one and the taxpayer is eventually on the hook to dispose of their last unclaimed junker. If someone operates outside the system there’s next to nothing that will be done. Almost no one ever goes to jail for a driving offence, most the penalties are administrative, handed out by a system which assumes people's self interest is to abide within it. It’s not set up to deal with those who don’t care about the system, for those there’s a lot of hand wringing because they aren’t playing by the rules and that’s about it.

Up 38 Down 8

Up the stakes on Jan 16, 2020 at 10:58 pm

Stop going soft on crime! Drink and drive, make it hurt with 10 years of jail time or a $10,000 fine. For those of you who think it's not such a big deal, it's not until a drunk driver hits you (almost killed me, one did) or does kill somebody you love. Get a grip drivers--no excuse in this day and age to be pickled behind the wheel.

Up 17 Down 11

JC on Jan 16, 2020 at 8:36 pm

Sorry Groucho, the god of human rights won't allow that sort of thing. Our nations laws are now legislated and governed according to the United Nations.

Up 31 Down 4

I dont drink but... on Jan 16, 2020 at 6:19 pm

@Groucho. They are already on the court docket and that is public info. You want 8x10 glossy headshots delivered to your door?
Me, I’m surprised the cops are surprised people still drink and drive. Drive by the KK or Whiskey Jacks and just look at all the cars. Half those people are driving home drunk and know there is almost no enforcement.

Up 81 Down 18

Groucho d'North on Jan 16, 2020 at 1:57 pm

I said it before and will again- Publically identify the drivers who are caught and found to be DUI. Post their names and vocations in the newspapers so all will know them and what they do. These people are hiding in plain sight, I believe the threat of public shaming would give many the sober second thought needed before they get behind the wheel after drinking.

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