In July 2021, the SHP was granted the authority to investigate impaired driving and other criminal offences. Since then, SHP has caught almost 4,000 impaired drivers on provincial highways, increasing the safety of Albertans across the province.
“Impaired driving is considered the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. By empowering the Sheriff Highway Patrol to take impaired drivers off our highways, Alberta’s government is helping make our roads safer for everyone who uses them. The Sheriff Highway Patrol is providing an outstanding example of what dedicated officers can achieve when they’re given the right tools for the job. I would like to thank the Alberta Sheriffs for their hard work in ensuring we all get home safe.”
In addition to impaired driving, the SHP’s priorities include speed, distracted driving and commercial vehicle safety enforcement. In 2023, the SHP wrote 59,583 tickets related to these violations and other traffic safety offences. SHP officers also help the RCMP by keeping units on patrol and available to respond to other incidents.
Expanding the authority of the SHP in 2021 was part of the Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response initiative designed to strengthen law enforcement presence in remote and sparsely populated areas. New funding is also being used to train and equip members of the SHP to answer calls for assistance from the RCMP as part of a planned expansion of the RAPID Response initiative. Between December 2023 and June 2024, the Alberta Sheriffs will complete training for three SHP recruit classes, resulting in 74 new officers ready for deployment. An additional class of 30 is expected to begin in fall 2024.
“I commend members of the Sheriff Highway Patrol for the commitment and focus they’ve shown toward preventing and detecting impaired driving: their efforts have surely saved lives. The work they do every day across our province helps ensure people reach their destination safely.”
The SHP also regularly conducts commercial vehicle inspections to further ensure the safety of Alberta drivers and passengers. In 2023, the SHP conducted 12,154 inspections on regulated commercial vehicles, which include trucks over 4,500 kilograms, motor coaches and school buses.
While conducting these inspections last year, SHP members found out-of-service violations in 4,723 cases, or 39 per cent of vehicles. Out-of-service violations stem mainly from mechanical faults that require immediate repair but can also result from drivers exceeding limits on hours of service and other regulatory offences.
Of the 1,217 impaired drivers caught by the SHP in 2023, 50 were commercial drivers exceeding Alberta's zero-tolerance standards for drug and alcohol use behind the wheel of commercial vehicles.
- The SHP operates on provincial highways, sharing enforcement with the RCMP and municipal police services on approximately 30,000 kilometres of roads across Alberta.
- The SHP has 17 commercial vehicle inspection stations on major transportation corridors, supplemented by 24 mobile inspection stations on other routes that are staffed at various times throughout the year.
- Alberta Sheriffs
- Commercial vehicle inspection stations
- Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated (RAPID) Response