Could there be good news in the fight against Ontario drunk driving? If a recent Mega-Ride road check is any indication, the tide of drunk drivers could actually be slowing in Ontario.
This is the season for impaired driving checkpoints on Ontario roads. Police kicked off the their annual Festive R.I.D.E. program at the beginning of December, and that program puts law enforcement in random spots on different roadways. The goal is to stop the most amount of drunk drivers possible, and by all accounts, it’s working in some areas.
Ottawa was the location for the Mega-Ride checkpoint held recently, and although almost 1,300 cars were stopped by police, only one person was charged with Ontario drunk driving. That’s incredible considering that these check points usually net quite a few drunk driving arrests. There were only 16 field sobriety tests given, and one driver was giving a sobriety test for drugs and he passed.
Was this just a bad location, were people aware of the checkpoint, or are parts of Ontario finally getting the anti-drunk driving message shared by police and organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)? It would be about time, because the province has been putting the effort into passing laws that will create safer roads for all drivers.
Take the Ontario Cannabis Act for example: it was recently passed to allow Ontario impaired driving laws to begin changing to include drugged-driving when cannabis is legalized next year. The act will prohibit anyone under the age of 19 to buy, possesses, or sell cannabis, it will ban cannabis use in public places, and it will establish tougher drug-impaired driving laws.
Ontario drunk driving laws now include a zero-tolerance law for young drivers. Drivers under the age of 19 won’t be able to drive if they have any amount of alcohol in their system, and if they do they’ll receive fines and a driver’s license suspension. Drivers in the warn range, with a BAC between .05 and .08, will also face a three-day suspension and fines.
Whether it’s thanks to the new laws in Ontario or there’s some other reason behind the lack of drunk drivers, a Mega-Ride checkpoint like this can be seen as one small, successful step in the right direction for the province.