Courts convicting majority of drivers charged in checkstop program, records show
This holiday season Winnipeg police are turning up the heat on drunk drivers, adding more specialized officers to the Festive Checkstop Program.
To get a better idea of how well the yearly crackdown on impaired driving works, CTV News tracked people in the court system accused of impaired driving over the last two years.
Using court files on a random sample of 15 people charged during the last two holiday check stop blitzes, CTV found that eight out of 15 drivers charged in the 2009 Festive Checkstop Program were convicted or pleaded guilty and seven cases are still before the courts.
None of the drivers CTV News checked up on who were charged in the 2009 Festive Checkstop Program were acquitted.
In 2008, 12 out 15 drivers charged were convicted. Two of the drivers were acquitted and one case is still before the courts.
Winnipeg police Sgt. Rob Riffel said he's "ecstatic" about those numbers.
"The courts are following through," he said. "They are obviously taking heed in the work that our guys do to make the roads safer."
The conviction of impaired drivers sends a message, Riffel said. "If you choose to drink and drive we are going to catch you and the courts are going convict you."
Doug Mowbray with Mothers Against Drunk Driving called the results of checkstops "phenomenal."
Mowbray has a personal connection to the effects of drunk driving after his son Patrick was killed at the age of 21 by a drunk driver.
"It rips families apart…(it's) been almost eight years and it still hurts every day," he said.
Despite the positive numbers, some people believe more work needs to be done, especially when it comes to punishing repeat offenders.
-with a report from CTV's Stacey Ashley