So far this year, the Timmins Police Service has charged a total of 43 persons with impaired driving related offences stemming from incidents that result in collisions or the direct result of obedient roadway patrols by their police officers.
Of these 43 persons charged under the Criminal Code with Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle, 19 were deemed to be under the incapacitating influence of recreational or controlled substances.
These determinations are based on either onsite testing or testing procedures conducted at the police station by Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officers with the Timmins Police Service.
This translates into a disturbing statistic indicating that 44 % of persons arrested and charged with Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle had ingested some intoxicating substance prior to driving.
In some cases, the motorist is intoxicated based on a combination of the ingestion of narcotics and the consumption of alcohol.
While not all charges have been proven in court, the remaining 17 charged persons were under the exclusive influence of alcohol, with 7 persons charged with failing or refusing to comply with, depending on the circumstances, a breath demand or a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) testing demand.
Comparatively, for the same time period of between January 1st and August 30th in 2018, the Timmins Police Service charged a total of 27 persons with Impaired Operation contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.
Additionally, for the same time period of between January 1st and August 307th in 2019, the Timmins Police Service charged a total of 30 persons with Impaired Operation contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.
Additionally, for the same time period of between January 1st and August 30th in 2020, the Timmins Police Service charged a total of 39 persons with Impaired Operation contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.
When compared with “year to date” statistics of 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, there is a notable and distressing trend upwards in terms of:
- 27 occurrences of this nature for 2018
- 30 for 2019 for the same time period in 2019
- 39 for the same time period in 2020
- 43 for the same time period YTD for 2021
In relation to the 2021 Impaired Operation occurrences, year to date (YTD) for 2021, these translate into respective statistical increases of:
- 59% for this year in comparison 2018
- 43% for this year in comparison with 2019
- 3 % increase for this year when compared with 2020
in relation to Impaired Operation occurrence between January 1st and August 30th for the respective years of 2018, 2019 and 2020.
The marked trend upwards so far this year can be attributed to a number of potential factors:
- An increased number of Timmins Police Service officers trained on drug recognition techniques and applying those skills to locate impaired drivers.
- A greater number of persons calling in suspected impaired driving situations via 9-1-1
- A perceived false or misguided perception regarding the level of impairment achievable with the consumption of even modest amounts of any controlled substances.
Whatever the cause for the increase, the Timmins Police view this as a disturbing trend in regards to public safety.
Timmins Police Traffic Sergeant Thomas Chypyha adds “There appears to be an obvious failure to recognize the dangers attached to engaging in impaired driving of any kind – alcohol or narcotic related. From a law enforcement perspective, taking to the road after having consumed any substance that impairs or adversely alters a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle alertly and responsibly definitely meets the threshold of a criminal act. The Timmins Police Service continues to address roadway safety as a top priority. The outcomes linked to this type of activity are often tragic and always preventable.”
The Timmins Police are also keenly aware that 8 of these instances of Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle, year to date, resulted in injury varying from minor to quite serious.
The Timmins Police continues to invest in training in its officers and the continued deployment of RIDE spot checks in keeping with its stance that each instance of Impaired Operation are completely preventable, irresponsible and inherently dangerous.