If the number of impaired drivers being reported to 911 is any indication, people in Ontario are sick and tired of drivers getting behind the wheel after drinking. The holidays saw a big increase in calls regarding suspected drunk drivers, and put together with the province’s R.I.D.E spot check program, there was a significant increase in the number of impaired drivers arrested over the past year in Ontario.
The R.I.D.E program, otherwise known as Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere, has been around for 36 years and kicks off at the end of November every year. They use all types of vehicles, from vans to an undercover hearse, and the officers are looking for signs of impairment like sleepiness, lack of coordination, and the scent of alcohol coming from the vehicle. During these checks, anyone can be asked to submit to a breathalyzer.
Impaired drivers who exceeded the legal limit of .08 on a breathalyzer received criminal charges, and judging from the initial numbers, there was a significant increase in criminal charges in 2014 over 2013. Just as an example, the York Region saw 1,354 arrests for alcohol-related offenses, and that’s a big jump from 2013’s 868 arrests.
Anyone arrested for impaired driving in Ontario will be subject to harsh penalties – you will lose your driver’s license for up to a year, pay fines up to $1,000, and will be required to install an ignition interlock device if you’d like to reduce your driver’s license suspension. Even if you ‘pass’ the breathalyzer test in the ‘warn range’ with a reading between .05 and .08, you will still pay $150 in fines, lose your license for 7 days, and if you have more than two warn range offenses within 5 years, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device for six months.
More phone calls to 911 reporting drunk drivers, increased patrols, and strict impaired driving laws are working to improve the safety of Ontario’s roads, and that’s good news for everyone who lives in the province.