Police in Ontario have one simple goal when it comes to impaired driving: zero tolerance. In this case that means, however out of reach this goal may seem after the year Ontario has had, that they don’t want to see a single drunk driver on the road.
There are a lot of reasons why the goal of zero tolerance or zero drunk driving arrests is a goal Ontario is having a hard time reaching.
Ontario has had quite a year for impaired driving
Although alcohol-related fatalities have been declining over the past year, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been a shocking number of impaired driving arrests in the province. Checkpoints, RIDE programs, and crashes have resulted in the arrest of thousands of Ontario drunk drivers in 2016.
Driver’s attitudes toward drunk driving in Canada are way off where they should be
It was hoped that the one good thing that came out of Ontario’s Muzzo crash in 2015 was that attitudes toward impaired driving in Ontario would change. After all, once you hear that three children and their grandfather were killed because of a drunk driver, you should re-think what you drink before putting the keys in the ignition.
Impaired driving arrests in Ontario show that clearly hasn’t been the case, but the rest of Canada is failing in this regard too. Recent polls in Saskatchewan and Alberta show that people in the province don’t think it’s a big deal if you drink and drive for short distances, and many people admitted to drinking and driving in the not-too-recent past.
Ontario courts are having a difficult time keeping up with the onslaught of drunk driving cases
Because of the amount of drunk drivers being arrested, the Ontario court system is having a hard time keeping up with the backlog. It took one offender eighteen months to work through a standard impaired driving charge, and on average Ontario offenders waited 194 days from arrest to penalties.
If the goal is to stop an impaired driver from driving drunk again, having to wait that long for penalties is too long.
Ontario has a lot of work to do to stop drunk drivers in 2017, but so does the rest of Canada. Let’s hope everyone works together to make 2017 the year that the country finally manages to put the brakes on drunk driving.