In one day, Kentville provincial court handed out sentencing orders to 10 impaired drivers.
Judge Claudine MacDonald handed out fines Jan. 27 that ranged between $1,300 and $1,820. All those charged entered guilty pleas and were also prohibited from driving for one year.
Among those who appeared before MacDonald Jan. 27 on a charge of operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood were Richard Ivan Brown, 39, of Canaan, charged July 27, 2013 in Canaan; Eric Richard Corbett, 61, of Woodville, for a Dec. 7, 2013 charge laid in Cambridge; 43-year-old Jeffrey Scott Hale of Waterville, charged Dec. 6, 2013 in Berwick; South Alton resident Tracey Higgins, charged Nov. 25, 2013 in Blue Mountain; Cheryl Lynn Keddy, 43, of Waterville, charged Dec. 23, 2013 in Berwick; Bronwyn Danielle Pitts, 21, of Canning, charged Dec. 7, 2013 in Canning; Marie Alfretta Rheaume, 19, of Morristown, charged Dec. 14, 2013 in Greenwood; and Peter Douglas Swinimer, 27, of Hants Border, for a Nov. 17, 2013 charge laid in Avonport. Falmouth resident Ryan Garth Hartt, 23, also appeared in court on a Nov. 17, 2013 charge laid in New Minas.
Mitchell Shawn Miller, 20, of Morristown, charged with impaired driving Dec. 14, 2013, in Aylesford received additional fines of $100 and $500 respectively after pleading guilty to charges of operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s licence or insurance on the same date.
Kings RCMP Community Policing Officer Blair McMurtery said the volume of impaired charges before the court on a given day can vary for a number of reasons, including scheduling.
“But I can tell you (the RCMP) have been doing a pretty good job of holding check stops all over the county,” he said.
“These traffic stops that can happen anytime, anywhere, can result in pretty good catches,” that ultimately result in getting impaired drivers off the road McMurtery added.
Byron Butt, president of MADD Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy chapter, said the numbers of convictions could also be a reflection of the success of efforts, like MADD Canada’s campaign that encourage drivers to contact police by calling 911 if they spot a driver they suspect is impaired.
Butt, who recently retired from the RCMP, believes members of the public are getting the message about contacting police to report suspected impaired drivers.
“At the Windsor detachment, we would get about eight calls a week,” from drivers who saw someone driving erratically, said Butt. He said police laid impaired charges close to 80 per cent of the time in these cases. According to MADD Canada statistics, tips from the public have increased arrest rates for impaired driving by 30 per cent on average.
“The big thing is to make police aware of this behaviour,” said Butt, who reminds the public to report suspected drinking and driving out on the water and on snowmobile trails.
“People can also be charged with impaired driving while boating or snowmobiling.”