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‘Disturbing’ stats show impaired driving charges in Sudbury nearly double over 2018

Comparing statistics from September to December, there’s been a big spike in charges over last year
(File photo)

It seems some drivers in the Greater Sudbury area aren’t getting the message about drinking and driving.

Greater Sudbury Police released Festive RIDE (Reduced Impaired Driving Everywhere) stats up to the middle of December today and compared them to the stats from December 2018 (full month).

In 2019, police charged five people with impaired related offences (either being impaired, refusing a roadside test or over 80) in the first 15 days of December, compared to four charges laid last year.

While those statistics show a slight up-tick this year, the opposite is true for alcohol-related licence suspensions. So far this year, police have issued five suspensions, compared to 14 last December.

RIDE checks also nabbed drivers for Highway Traffic Act and other provincial offences. This year showed a decrease in those charges as well, with 30 people charged in the first half of December compared to 53 for the entire month in 2018.

When it comes to other (unspecified) Criminal Code offences, four such charges have been laid so far this month, compared to six last year.

Up to Dec. 15 this year, police made 34 approved screening device demands on drivers at RIDE checks. During December 2018, police made 74 demands.

Beyond alcohol, police conducted four field sobriety tests for drugged driving this year so far, compared to six last year.

This month 2,169 drivers have been checked at RIDE stops. In total in 2018, 4,369 were checked.

Beyond the Festive RIDE campaign, GSPS said it is disturbed at the increase in the number of drivers arrested and charged with impaired driving. Between September and December 2018, police laid 48 impaired charges.

However, for the same period this year, police were troubled to find that the number of charges laid had almost doubled, to 78.

“These numbers are disturbing as drinking and driving is never an option combined with the fact that there are numerous options for a sober ride to your destination,” GSPS said in a news release.

Police remind people out enjoying Christmas festivities to plan ahead if you will be drinking: have a designated driver, call a taxi, use public transit or use Safe Ride Home Sudbury services.