Impaired Driving Epidemic Engulfs Northern Ontario, Three Arrests in One Day

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Recently, numerous instances of impaired driving have kept officers of the northern Ontario Provincial Police, specifically the James Bay detachments, occupied. Over just less than half a day, three individuals were apprehended after being charged with impaired driving.

In the early morning hours of September 2nd, officers caught sight of an ATV committing several offences under the Highway Traffic Act. This led to the initiation of a traffic stop on Gurney Road in Kapuskasing. Subsequent investigation revealed that the ATV driver had consumed alcohol. The driver was arrested and moved to the Kapuskasing detachment for further testing. Consequently, the 16-year-old driver from Kapuskasing was charged with three impaired driving-related offences, as well as speeding, ignoring a red light, riding without an appropriate helmet, and not relinquishing their licence. Additionally, they were found to be a G1 class driver operating without the presence of a qualified driver and outside permissible hours.

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Late that same afternoon, an automatic license plate reader alerted a patrolling officer to a suspended driver in a vehicle on Brunetville Road. The vehicle was followed into a parking lot, where a different person took over driving within the lot. Upon stopping the vehicle, signs of intoxication were observed in the new driver. The driver was subsequently arrested and taken to the local detachment for additional testing. As a result, a 29-year-old from Kapuskasing was charged with impaired driving, possession of criminally obtained property, and drug possession, while a 42-year-old resident of Moonbeam was charged with driving while suspended in the same incident.

A few hours later, in response to a traffic complaint in Hearst, police located and stopped a vehicle on 9th street. The officer proceeded to arrest the driver for impaired driving and transported them to the Kapuskasing detachment for additional testing. The 26-year-old driver from Hearst was thereafter charged with impaired driving and drug possession.

All three individuals have been released and are due to appear in court at a future date-not yet determined. While the charges have been levelled at the individuals, none of the accusations have been proven in court. Aside from the charges, each of the drivers were served a 90-day administrative driver’s license suspension and had their vehicles impounded for a week.

The police force expressed its intent to increase the deployment of its drug recognition expert program and standardized field sobriety testing, hoping to enhance their ability to identify and assess drug-impaired drivers.