Residents of the York region in Ontario: you’ve got some explaining to do. After almost two years of impaired driving crashes and more impaired driving arrests than police can keep up with, eleven people were charged with impaired driving over a period of three days. Clearly things aren’t getting better anytime soon.
It was the weekend before the Easter long weekend so it should have been a quiet few days on the roads, but police were on the run with impaired driving arrests in the York region. One woman was driving down the off-ramp on Hwy 404, one of the busiest highways in the York region, and she was stopped for an impaired driving crash after she fell asleep at the wheel of her car while driving.
That incident alone would be enough to shock local police, but that same day a man was spotted by a passerby drinking alcohol while driving. He was also on a highway, and police said he blew a lethal 4.5 on the breathalyzer.
Those two impaired driving arrests stand out for police, but there were also nine other impaired driving offenses recorded that weekend. Four of those arrests happened on a Monday in the middle of the day, and again, this wasn’t a long weekend.
What can police in the York region do when they’ve exhausted the police force with impaired driving arrests? They’ve started by continually asking the public to stop driving drunk, but there’s more that’s needed. It’s long past time to crack down on impaired drivers by enforcing ignition interlock compliance and toughening up ignition interlock laws.
An ignition interlock is the one device that can stop a drunk driver, and although there are impaired drivers installing the device as mandated, the number of drunk drivers on the roads would seem to indicate that there are people who are skipping it.
If Ontario takes Saskatchewan as an example, there are also benefits to strengthening ignition interlock laws. Saskatchewan has just toughened up their own laws by extending interlock program times, and local pubs are already starting to notice a drop in alcohol sales as people skip that second drink.
Toughening up ignition interlock laws in the York Region is a good plan. They’ve got nothing to lose and impaired drivers to stop, so let’s hope that there’s a turn around in that area soon.