Saskatchewan RCMP say almost 200 impaired driving offences occurred during the holiday season.
On Tuesday, RCMP released crime statistics for their jurisdiction for the Dec. 19, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2023, period.
During that time, there were 175 impaired driving-related offences, as well as 13 roadside suspensions, the statistics show.
An RCMP spokesperson said 60 people had been charged as of Tuesday.
Over the same period in Regina, 14 people were charged with impaired driving, according to the Regina Police Service's community crime map.
On New Year's Eve, the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) worked a checkstop with several other police forces, including Saskatchewan RCMP, and screened about 300 drivers, an SPS spokesperson said.
Impaired driving offences reported in December, 2019-2021
Five drivers were issued immediate roadside suspensions and vehicle impoundments after testing positive for THC, the chemical compound in marijuana, the spokesperson said.
Some drivers were tested for alcohol consumption per the Criminal Code, but none met the threshold for an offence, police said.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance expects to have all the police statistics for the holiday period by the second half of January, a spokesperson said.
Throughout December 2021, police services across Saskatchewan reported a total of 361 impaired driving offences: 275 criminal charges and 86 administrative suspensions, such as a roadside suspension, the SGI spokesperson said.
The year before, police in Saskatchewan reported a total of 369 such offences: 288 criminal charges and 81 administrative suspensions, according to the spokesperson.
Fewer offences were reported in December 2019, when police reported 295 impaired driving offences: 249 criminal charges and 46 administrative suspensions, said the SGI spokesperson.
Operation Red Nose returns
This year marked the return of Operation Red Nose for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began — and organizers are celebrating what they said was a successful season.
The national road safety campaign, which offers safe rides home during the holidays, ran from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31. In Saskatchewan, 366 volunteers from four community organizations provided 401 rides, according to a news release issued Tuesday.
"We potentially prevented 400 crashes in the province during the holiday season," said Marie-Chantal Fortin, the organization's national development co-ordinator.
"So that's good news, and we're very happy and satisfied with those numbers."
Operation Red Nose did not operate in 2020 due to public health concerns, and it pulled the plug at the last minute in 2021 because of the Omicron wave, she said.
The number of rides Operation Red Nose provided this year is lower than in previous years, Fortin said, but that's in part because the campaign didn't operate at its pre-pandemic capacity.
The trend is similar across the country, she added.
Ultimately, Operation Red Nose wants to promote sober driving, so Fortin hopes people continue to plan ahead all year long.
She recommends a range of ways to drink responsibly, like assigning a designated driver, calling a cab or ride-hailing service, taking public transit, or staying overnight if you're at a house party and can't drive home.