After a weekend in which York Regional Police laid 27 charges related to impaired driving against 16 drivers, the force says it has had enough.
Effective immediately, York police plan to publicly identify every driver charged with a criminal offence related to impaired driving, the force said in a news release Monday.
“It’s clear that something has to change,” Chief Eric Jolliffe said in the release. “Innocent lives are put at risk every day by this irresponsible and criminal behaviour. We are not giving up.”
Every Monday, York police will post the names of everyone charged with an impaired driving-related offence online in the force’s media releases section.
The first official list of 16 names was posted Monday.
York police are not the first in the GTA to publicly name alleged drunk drivers: Halton Regional Police have been doing it for more than a year; Toronto police selectively release names in serious cases; and Durham Regional Police have been naming for more than 10 years, releasing lists of drivers charged during their Festive RIDE campaigns.
In one of the incidents that occurred Friday at about 10 p.m., officers responded to a call on Joshua Ct. in Richmond Hill for a report of a suspicious vehicle. The caller advised that there was a vehicle parked for over an hour blocking their driveway. As officers arrived, the vehicle began driving away but was stopped by police. Officers spoke with the driver who smelled of alcohol and a half-full bottle of vodka was observed in the centre console, police said. The driver was placed under arrest and taken for a breath test, where he blew four times the legal limit, police said.
So far this year, York police have laid more than 1,400 impaired-related charges, and police said the number of drivers choosing to drive while impaired is showing no signs of decreasing.
This year, five people in York Region have died in collisions where alcohol or drug impairment were contributing factors, police said.
The legal consequences of an impaired driving charge can include roadside vehicle impoundment and automatic driver’s licence suspension as well as further consequences imposed by the courts, including longer licence suspensions, large fines and in some cases, jail time.
Emerald Bensadoun is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @twerk_vonnegut