A program encouraging the public to report drunk drivers on their cell phones led to 129 charges of impaired driving on P.E.I. in the latter half of 2011.

Impaired driving charges

 TotalFrom Campaign 911
Nov. 2011256
Dec. 2011122
April-Dec. 2011241129
April-Dec. 2010230N//A

That represents more than half of the 241 charges laid from April – December, but RCMP are still trying to determine how to measure the success of the program. With 230 charges laid in the same period in 2010, before Campaign 911, it's difficult to say how much of an impact calls from the public are making.

Sgt. Leanne Butler, head of traffic services with the RCMP, said police will be studying the statistics more closely. She is convinced the program will provide significant benefits.

"The public is very valuable for us. They do give us many calls during the months and there are some successes," said Butler.

RCMP will be trying to assess what's the best way to catch the most impaired drivers, Butler said.

"We want to measure that to see if the program is making more people call, so we've been keeping stats lately on how the impaired drivers are caught so we can report on that better," she said.

Calling to report a drunk driver is the only situation on P.E.I. where drivers are allowed to drive and use their cell phones at the same time. Callers are asked to describe the car and for a licence plate number. If the driver is not caught on the road police will visit the car owner's house and let them know a complaint was made.

The long term goal for RCMP is to get the number of impaired drivers to zero, whether that's through citizen calls, regular patrols or check stops.