Impaired driving climbs for third year in Eastern Ontario

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SMITHS FALLS, Ont. – While Ontario Provincial Police are conducting fewer Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) programs in Eastern Ontario, the amount of drunks on the road has climbed for a third straight year.

On its face, the number of arrests and charges related to impaired driving has been dropping between 2018 and 2020 during the five week campaign around Christmas.

But statistics compiled by Cornwall Newswatch show the number of people charged as a percentage of all spot-checks has actually risen from 3.9 per cent in 2018 to 6.1 per cent in 2020.

The O.P.P. had conducted 2700 roadside programs in 2018 but that number has dwindled to 1500 during the campaign last month.

“These individuals are putting not only their own lives at risk, but also those of passengers, other motorists and pedestrians,” East Region Traffic and Marine Insp. Dave Tovell said in a statement Monday.

The number of drivers who had their driver’s licences suspended because they registered a warning on a Breathalyzer has dropped from 2.5 per cent of all spot-checks in 2018 to 2.1 per cent in 2020.