Impaired driving arrests were down slightly this holiday season but Ontario Provincial Police say an alarming number of people still made the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking.
According to statistics released Tuesday, Ontario Provincial Police laid 573 impaired driving charges over the course of their holiday RIDE campaign, which ran from Nov. 23 to Jan. 2.
That’s compared to the 593 charges that were laid for impaired driving offences during last year’s holiday RIDE campaign.
The total number of drivers who had their licenses suspended after their blood alcohol content was determined to be in the warning range was also down this year, dropping to 350 from 485.
“Despite the high number of charges again this year, it is difficult to understand why people still choose to drink or use drugs, and then get behind the wheel to drive,” Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair said in a press release. “These statistics are alarming, and we intend to keep the pressure on drivers who refuse to consider an alternative way to get to their destination.”
Though impaired driving arrests were down on OPP-patrolled roads during the holiday season, they were actually up in Toronto where police reported making 211 arrests during their annual RIDE campaign compared to 195 arrests in 2014.
Meanwhile, in York Region police said they arrested 168 people for impaired driving during their holiday RIDE campaign and issued 77 three-day licence suspensions to drivers who tested in the warning range. Police in York Region did not release statistics for 2014, so it is unclear how this year’s numbers compare.
It should be noted that overall impaired driving arrests in Toronto were down half a percentage point in 2015.