The RCMP’s annual traffic enforcement campaign Operation Gingerbread began on Dec. 1.
The seasonal initiative will see traffic enforcement patrols and check stops around the NWT.
The campaign, which runs to New Year’s Day, aims to prevent people from operating a motor vehicle while impaired and keep roads safe over the holidays.
The RCMP will also be checking drivers operating off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles and ATVs, as impaired driving is not limited to the operation of motor vehicles on roadways.
In Hay River, Operation Gingerbread is being supported by a number of businesses and organizations.
People will see check stops and a higher presence of traffic enforcement conducted throughout the community, according to the Town of Hay River.
The municipality’s protective services, including the Hay River Fire Department and the ambulance services, along with Carter Industries towing and Reliable Cabs have joined together with the RCMP to help people stay safe this holiday season.
“The town’s involvement, of course, is to promote safe driving, whether it be preventing people from driving impaired, driving distracted, driving when they don’t have a driver’s licence,” said Const. Travis Rosborough, the municipality’s protective services specialist, adding people are also being encouraged to get home safely by taxi or through ride sharing.
Rosborough also noted the town’s protective services are ready to help if people need them over the Christmas season.
To demonstrate that there are many different people working for safety over the holiday season, the town organized a photo on Dec. 2 at the fire hall, featuring Rosborough, members of the fire department, Reliable Cabs, Carter Industries towing and a representative of the RCMP.
Rosborough noted such photos are common in the South.
“A lot of the public safety agencies get together and take a photo to promote safety during the holiday season,” he noted. “Sometimes they have a hearse to kind of show people you get to choose your ride, whether you want to ride in a taxi, ride in an ambulance or ride in a hearse.”
The photo was placed on the Town of Hay River’s Facebook page to announce the beginning of Operation Gingerbread.
The RCMP will be making people aware that impairment comes in many different ways, not just from alcohol.
Taking drugs, both illegal and prescription, can also cause impairment, as can the combination of alcohol and drugs. Driving fatigued or distracted driving can also cause impairment.
“We want to maintain a high visibility profile throughout this busy season and educate our drivers on the dangers of driving impaired,” said Cpl. Sam Munden of the Northwest Territories RCMP’s Traffic Services. “Ultimately, we want to stop impaired driving, so we will conduct traffic check stops and talk to the drivers about the various forms of impaired driving.”