'Tis the season for the annual Christmas Check Stop campaign

If your tree isn’t the only thing getting lit this Christmas, please make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home. Don’t drink and drive!

The annual Christmas Check Stop campaign is now underway and will continue throughout the month of December and into the New Year as part of a targeted effort to get impaired drivers off the road.

Police are once again reminding motorists never to drink and drive and anyone who observes a suspected impaired driver is asked to call 911 immediately if it is safe and lawful to do so.

The primary goal of the Check Stop program is to locate and apprehend impaired drivers due to the significant risk to public safety they pose, but police will also be checking for valid documentation including driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and insurance as well as equipment, liquor and other violations.

A combination of traditional, static, on-road Check Stops will be set up at various locations in Lethbridge and Coaldale and officers will also be conducting targeted, mobile enforcement.

Police remind motorists that administrative penalties begin for drivers caught with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of over .05. At .05 drivers will face an immediate three-day license suspension and three-day vehicle seizure on a first offence. Individuals with a Graduated Driver’s License who are found with any blood alcohol face an immediate 30-day license suspension and seven-day vehicle seizure.

All drivers charged with impaired driving will have their license suspended until the charge is resolved in court. Their vehicle will be seized – three days on a first offence and seven days for subsequent offences. Upon conviction drivers will also require a mandatory ignition interlock for one year on the first conviction, three years for the second conviction and five years for the third conviction.

Police remind all motorists that impairment begins with the first drink. Consuming any type of alcohol affects your judgment, reaction time and perception.

If you are going to drink, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Designate a sober driver (who does not drink any alcohol), call a taxi, use public transportation or contact a drive-home service, such as Operation Red Nose.