Impaired driving remains prevalent during pandemic
THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Thunder Bay Police Service officers laid 13 impaired driving charges, and 13 warn-range suspensions, during this season’s Festive RIDE campaign.
In total, 12 RIDE programs were conducted during the annual campaign. Officers established the RIDE checkpoints at various locations across the city, and witnessed a high volume of impaired driving incidents despite the significantly less traffic volumes.
The reduced traffic volumes were believed to be the result of COVID-19 restrictions.
Following are some notable statistics from this season’s Festive RIDE:
• 13 Criminal charges relating to Impaired Operation offences
o 8 charged with Impaired Operation and 80 Plus Operation (driving over the legal blood alcohol concentration)
o 3 charged with Impaired Operation by Drug
o 2 charged with refusing to provide a breath sample
• 3 Drivers were charged with Prohibited Operation of a Conveyance (these drivers are prohibited from operating a vehicle Canada Wide, generally stemming from a Criminal Impaired or other driving related conviction)
Other Criminal Code charges included:
o Possession of a controlled substance
o Possession of proceeds of crime
o Dangerous operation of a conveyance
o Escape lawful custody
o Fail to comply with probation and release orders
o Flight from police
o Assault police
• 13 warn range suspensions were issued (these are for drivers who are between 50mg and 80mg of alcohol, and their driver’s licences are suspended for a minimum of 3 days)
Numerous provincial offence charges, including multiple charges for many of the following offences:
o Drive while under suspension
o Operating motor vehicle without insurance
o Novice and young drivers with Blood Alcohol Concentration above zero
o Other novice driver violations
o Drive motor vehicle with cannabis readily available
o Use plates not authorized for vehicle
o Fail to move over for emergency vehicle
o Drive motor vehicle with open container of liquor
o Numerous moving violations (red lights, speed, stop signs, seatbelts etc … )
For the year, the Thunder Bay Police Service has laid 252 charges relating to incidents of impaired driving. Of the 252 charges, 109 were related to incidents of impaired by drug, and 10 were related to refusals.
While the numbers are slightly lower than the 299 charges laid in 2020, the rate remains much higher than 2018 and 2019 – when 178, and 204 charges were laid respectively.
The results of the 2021 Festive RIDE program show that impaired driving is still a real problem in our city and beyond, and despite the awareness, education and messaging about the issue, it is still occurring at an alarming rate. Because of this fact, the Thunder Bay Police Service would like to again remind sober motorists to exercise extra caution and drive defensively to help reduce the risk of becoming involved in a collision with an impaired driver.
Several incidents during the Festive RIDE campaign are particularly troubling. In one incident, a driver was charged with various charges including Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Operation of a Motor Vehicle While Prohibited. This driver was a Prohibited Driver, Canada Wide, for life, and had two separate lifetime driving prohibition orders.
These Impaired Driving and prohibited driving charges laid were in addition to four other convictions this driver already has for both Impaired Operation as well as Prohibited Operation. During the RIDE check, the motorist was driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration four times the legal limit.
Another incident was particularly troubling and dangerous for officers involved. A motorist attempting to flee the RIDE check had dragged an officer whose arm became trapped inside the vehicle. The motorist was charged with numerous criminal offences, including Impaired Operation (by Drug).
Members of Thunder Bay Police Service will continue to do their best to identify, locate and arrest these impaired drivers in our city, as despite all efforts made by many, it is still very real, and problematic issue for our citizens.