Police in Winnipeg will be on the lookout for distracted, impaired, aggressive and otherwise dangerous driving on city streets this Thanksgiving long weekend.
The Winnipeg Police Service is stepping up traffic enforcement from Friday through Monday as part of Operation Impact, a nationwide police campaign aimed at making roads safer.
Police say with more people travelling during the long weekend, the number of motor vehicle collisions — including serious and even fatal crashes — go up.
There were 21 road fatalities in the city last year, with factors in those cases including impaired driving, distracted driving, not wearing seatbelts and aggressive driving, according to police.
"I've seen, my officers have seen the devastating effects that this behaviour can have on totally innocent people who were just out for a drive or just going from A to B or going to spend time with their family," Staff Sgt. Rob Riffel, who heads up the police service's Central Traffic Unit, told CBC News on Thursday.
"It's devastating. It's hard for officers … it's hard for the families to deal with it, obviously. It's just senseless and it doesn't need to happen."
Plainclothes officers will be among those stationed around the city, watching for offences like not wearing seatbelts, driving while impaired, and talking or texting on a cellphone while behind the wheel.
In Winnipeg, police have handed out 2,342 traffic tickets to motorists for using their cellphones while driving so far this year. Last year, 4,837 cellphone tickets were issued in the city.