Durham Police share a peek into their RIDE program with tweetalong in Oshawa

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Published December 17, 2021 at 4:03 pm

Durham Police shared a peek into their busy workday with a live tweetalong of their Festive RIDE program last night. Some of the major event include, people driving and texting, a fast and furious getaway, four impaired driving charges and the crash of an autonomous shuttle bus.

The tweetalong began in at 7 p.m. with A/Sgt George Tudos, the DRPS media officer, hopping in to Cst. Baumgartner’s cruiser and preparing for a long winter’s night.

Tudos began his evening showing drivers the equipment officers use to test their breath for traces of alcohol, if they’re arrested for impaired driving. The machine featured below is an Intoxilyzer 8000C, which uses infrared spectrometry to analyze a user’s breath in three and nine micron wavelengths.

This may sound like techno-babble, but it allows the Intoxilyzer to identify blood-alcohol concentration with incredible precision.

After little more than an hour in the field, Tudos reported the night’s first incident. Earlier in the afternoon, Whitby’s WAVE autonomous shuttle bus, aka Ollie, went of the road and crashed into a tree, critically injuring the on-board attendant, age 23.

While driverless, Ollie has a safety attendant on board to apply a parking brake should anything go wrong. The attendant was rushed to a Toronto hospital. The cause of the crash is unknown, but police and the Ministry of Labour continue to investigate. Roadways were closed for several hours as the Collision Unit investigated the scene.

Minutes later, Tudos and Baumgartner were called to another collision, this time near the Stevenson Road and Cartier Avenue area of Oshawa. Alcohol was initially believed to be a factor, but the investigation revealed the driver was not impaired.

Next the buddy-cop pair were called to the Oshawa Centre over reports of an aggressive driver, luckily they were in the neighbourhood. Cartier Avenue is right across the street. The driver reportedly flew into a parking spot at a high rate of speed.

The driver ended up escaping the officers, leaving “something like the Fast and Furious” according to a witness, weaving through traffic as he sped away.

Almost two hours into their shift, the traffic team pulled a driver over with for an expired license plate tag from June 2018. Drivers need to replace these stickers on every year or incur a $115 fine.

At 9 p.m. officers began to set up their RIDE stop checkpoints at locations across Durham Region. Within 20 minutes, a driver was pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving, but blew under.

Within the hour, a driver received a three day suspension after blowing a warning on the breathalyzer with a blood alcohol concentration higher than .05 but less than the legal limit of .08.

Tudos pointed out all officers working the RIDE stops are equipped with body-worn cameras. Traffic officers were among the first to receive the cameras in September alongside community officers in Ajax, Pickering and North Durham.

Whitby and Clarington will be the next to receive the cameras before the final rollout stage reaches Oshawa.

A driver was stopped around 11 p.m. for texting while driving down Harmony Road. He got slammed with a $615 ticket, and if convicted to have his licence suspended.

Tudos’ tweetalong wrapped up at midnight, but officers stayed at their post until 5 a.m. All told four drivers were charged with impaired driving last night. A full list of charges for the week will release next week.

By the end of week four, police had charged 47 drivers with impaired operation from checkpoint in every Durham municipality through the RIDE program. This is higher than in 2020 at that time which saw 36 people charged and more cars stopped.

Most drivers were from the Region, but other came from the larger GTA, Alberta and one from England. A full list of driver’s charged so far is on the DRPS newsroom.

Anyone charged with drinking and driving automatically has theri vehicle impounded for a week and loses their license for 90 days.

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