Slew of impaired driving charges laid in Peterborough area over past week

The message isn't new - if you're drinking or using drugs, you shouldn't drive. But in the last week, police have arrested several people for impaired driving in our viewing area. Mark Giunta reports.

Since last Friday, 15 drivers have been pulled off the roads for impaired driving in Peterborough city and county, Northumberland County, City of Kawartha Lakes and Madoc.

“We’re not happy, but we’re not surprised,” said Marc Gravelle, a community leader with MADD Peterborough. “Being St. Paddy’s Day, we were expecting an elevated number of impaired drivers in the area.”

Four of those drivers were arrested on roads patrolled by Peterborough County OPP. Two were in collisions, one at a RIDE check and one at a roadside stop.

READ MORE: Rash of impaired-driving charges laid in Peterborough and Northumberland counties, City of Kawartha Lakes

Peterborough County has the second most impaired charges in the OPP’s Central Region, an area stretching from Simcoe County north to Haliburton and south to Northumberland County.

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In 2018, there were 160 impaired driving charges laid by Peterborough County OPP — 158 for alcohol and two for drugs.

So far in 2019, 30 have been charged.

“It can be attributed to several different things. Our officers are doing great work with RIDE programs and getting people off the streets,” said Const. Joe Ayotte. “It can also be attributed to the public, who are calling in impaired drivers to us.”

In Peterborough, two people were arrested for impaired driving over the weekend, both outside of RIDE checks.

Peterborough police checked 1,779 vehicles throughout the weekend.

“As a police service, I think the St. Patrick’s Day RIDE was successful,” said traffic Sgt. Ryan Wilson. “No arrests stem from that. We only had one warning which resulted in a three-day suspension.”

READ MORE: Northumberland County drivers charged with impaired driving

Stiffer penalties went into effect at the start of the year. Refusing a breath test is a mandatory minimum fine of $2,000. The first offence for driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 80 mg or more results in a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The fine goes up from there, depending on how high your BAC level is.

MADD Peterborough is advocating for Uber and Lyft ride sharing to come here to offer more options to get impaired drivers off the road.

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“We need to help give people who are consuming illicit drugs or alcohol other ways home so nobody gets hurt,” added Gravelle.

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