RCMP Sgt. Darrin Turnbull, Alberta RCMP Traffic, says while it's the job of their officers to uphold traffic safety, Albertans also have a role to play in helping ensure everyone makes it home safely.

“Sadly, there were seven fatalities due to road-related incidents over the long weekend," says Sgt. Turnbull. "These are individuals who would have been back home on Tuesday. They are our family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbours. It’s devastating.”

The numbers aren't pretty from beefed-up highway patrols over the Canada Day Long Weekend, June 28 to July 1.

The RCMP removed 101 impaired drivers from provincial highways.

"That includes 79 drivers who received the immediate roadside sanction fail, which is a 90-day outright driving suspension followed by a one year of ignition interlock and a vehicle seizure," he says.

Another 22 received IRS WARNS.

"Unfortunately, it's sad to say it's an average number of people that we see on long weekends that make the mistake of drinking and driving. We're always reminding motorists that you have to make that decision about how you're going to get home before you start drinking and not after you've been drinking, because that's when alcohol impairs your judgment. You make the mistake of driving home"

As well, 1,679 traffic safety violation tickets were issued with 780 motorists being written up for exceeding the speed limit, 31 for distracted driving, and another 34 for the improper use of vehicle safety restraints. 

AirdrieRCMP officers monitoring traffic on Hwy. 1 near Banff during the Canada Day Long Weekend. (photo/Alberta RCMP)

In light of recent wildlife hits in the national parks, on July 1 and 2, enforcement targeted speeders along the Banff-Lake Louise corridor, where most of the hits have occurred.

He says they issued 144 speeding tickets, 11 of which were 50 kph or more over the posted 90 kph speed limit.

The total tickets issued over the long weekend resulted in $42,551 in fines and numerous drivers facing mandatory court charges.

Those who think the RCMP will now ease back on testing for impaired driving need to think again.

"Alberta RCMP will be doing checkstops all summer long as well as utilizing mandatory alcohol screening," says Turnbull.

He says anytime a motorist is stopped for any lawful reason, if an officer is trained and has the instrument with him, he can request an immediate breath sample.

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