Despite pandemic, people continue to drive impaired, say Toronto police
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the way we live our lives, it hasn’t stopped scores of people from choosing to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs, say Toronto police.
“Unfortunately, we’re still seeing the numbers and officers are still making arrests,” Sgt. Jason Kraft of Traffic Services told toronto.com late Thursday morning.
He said while year-over-year impaired driving-related offenses may be down, they’re still significant and unacceptable.
The most recent Toronto police data available for these kinds of charges was collected up to Dec. 14.
In that time frame, 2,010 impaired-driving related charges were laid in Toronto: 1,333 for driving while impaired, 168 for refusing a breath sample, 163 for driving while disqualified, 262 for dangerous driving, 89 for failing to stop, and 22 for criminal negligence.
During that period the previous year, Toronto police charged 2,329 people with impaired-driving related offenses.
Back on Saturday, Nov. 21, Toronto Police Service kicked off its annual holiday RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) program for the season.
Spot checks continue to take place every day throughout the city, along with officers doing impaired driving enforcement in all divisions.
Due to the pandemic, things are a little bit different this year as officers will be wearing personal protective equipment at all RIDE stops.
They’ll also be screening people differently and every driver should be prepared to be asked to take a roadside breath test at any time. Refusing to do so is an offense equivalent to being charged with impaired driving, Kraft noted.
This annual campaign, which aims to eradicate impaired driving at all times, runs until Saturday, Jan. 2.
Anyone who suspects someone of driving impaired is advised to consider it a crime in progress and call 911.