Festive RIDE totals – Drunk driving charges up over 25 per cent from last year from Pickering to Clarington

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Published January 4, 2022 at 12:09 pm

Durham Regional Police have released their final totals from the annual Festive RIDE program finding an increase in impaired driving charges despite between fewer stops overall.

The Festive RIDE program runs for seven weeks over the holiday season. Throughout that time, officers stopped over 6,700 drivers at stops in nearly every Durham municipality, save Brock. In 2020 they stopped over 8,400 drivers in the same timeframe.

In the program’s final week 120 vehicles were stopped and six drivers wound up with charges, showing a dip over previous weeks which police attribute to Ontario’s re-instituted COVID-19 restrictions.

This brings the total up to 65 motorists catching impaired driving charges throughout the campaign, a 27 per cent increase from the 51 people charged last year.

All 65 drivers had their license suspended for 90 days and their vehicles impounded of seven days, as mandated by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. One driver, a 65-year-old man from Blackstock, was stopped twice in one day in two separate vehicles. Both cars were impounded.

While most drivers were from Durham Region, several came from across the GTA, one from Alberta and another from Liverpool, UK. A full list is available.

There as also a major spike in novice driver’s receiving a three-day suspension for having a blood-alcohol content above zero with 50 suspensions handed out, up from only three last year.

However 2021 saw some drops as well. Fewer drivers, 18, registered a WARN on the breathalyzer resulting in a three-day license suspension, showing a drop from 21 last year.

Rates of other criminal charges also fell. While 45 people caught additional charges under the criminal code last year, 14 did the same in 2021. Only one received separate drug charges, down from four last year.

“Although the Festive R.I.D.E has concluded this season, impaired driving remains one of our main priorities to ensure our roadways are safe for all roadway users,” police said.

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