Impaired driving road checks

Have these run their course? I’ve been looking at the number of impaired driving charges laid over the holidays this year here in Ontario and thinking that it is absolutely insane to be spending so many millions of dollars to run these traffic checkpoints considering so few people are drinking and driving these days.

In Ontario, almost 600,000 cars were stopped during the holidays and just 278 liquor-related charges were laid (not all of these were for impaired driving, too; some were for open containers in vehicles, although a breakdown wasn’t provided). In my home region, just two charges were laid after over 6,000 cars were stopped, and one was just a 12-hour license suspension. In Eastern Ontario as a whole, just 30 impaired charges were laid after 60,000 cars were stopped. Numbers are decreasing every year, too.

So, is there really a point to mounting these massive crusades? You’re never going to see the numbers drop to 0. Hasn’t everyone who’s going to get the message that drinking and driving is stupid already gotten it? It burns me to see this much cash wasted on these programs – anyone here ever gone through an OPP RIDE stop in Ontario? it usually features five or six cruisers and around ten cops, some undoubtedly on overtime – when it could be used to fight real crime like gun violence.

Well, brand new stupid people are born every day.

it could be used to fight real crime like gun violence

Were there 278 incidences of gun violence over the holidays?

No, but there were a few people killed, and a mid-afternoon shootout in the middle of crowds on Yonge St. shopping on Boxing Day that resulted in the death of a 15-year-old bystander. And which pretty much outraged the entire country.

I just think that having cops patrolling and/or investigating actual crimes makes a lot more sense than having them stand on roads waiting for that one impaired driver who comes along every few thousand cars.

It’s the exact opposite in Alberta. Or Edmonton, anyway; while I was there, I saw a news story about how the number of impaired drivers stopped was getting close to double that of the previous years.

Apparently we’re all drunks down this way. Moreso than usual.

I don’t know, it seems like it’s a lot easier to tell where the drunk drivers are going to be (if I were police chief, I would check the roads) than where gun violence will suddenly break out and quite likely just as suddenly be over before the cops can do anything.

Exactly how much cash is wasted on these programs? Also, if the number of offenders is going down, doesn’t that mean the program is working?

  • Alan

I heard a story this week that a “sobriety checkpoint” had been declared a success even though it found almost no drunk drivers because it had found many other unrelated violations for which were issues many lucrative tickets. In America a “sobriety checkpoint” is the only reason to pull over and search a car without probable cause.

Over the course of a week, a DWI roadblock in Connecticut stopped more more than a thousand cars, issued 29 tickets, towed 15 cars, and made two arrests for drug possession. Ten police officers manned the roadblock.

They made one DUI arrest. For this, the campaign was deemed “a success.”

In fact, they are planning a similar effort in a few days. “We’re doing it sometime around New Year’s weekend. You better watch out,” said Detective Lt. Thomas Michael. Once the roadblock came down, police arrested twice as many (that is, two) people for drunken driving.

Lifted from

Seeing as these gun incidents in Toronto and Vancouver seem to take place in the same neighborhoods over and over again, I don’t think it would be rocket science to make some predictions and step up patrols in key locations. Hell, just move the RIDEs to the problem areas and search every car stopped. I think you’d find a lot more illegal weapons with these sorts of checkpoints than impaired drivers with the current ones.

Really? Because all I get through Google are stories like this one from the Edmonton Journal, which notes that 7 more people were caught this year before Xmas (story was Dec. 21) compared to last. Those caught are more loaded than in the past, though.

Crazy comments like this one from the story are what really annoy me, though.

So, where exactly are the roads full of drunk drivers? Because the stats don’t indicate this, anywhere in North America. Even in “booming” Alberta.

It’s also interesting that the Edmonton cops didn’t release the number of cars stopped this year as opposed to last. So perhaps they got 7 more drunks, but stopped 10,000 more cars or something.

(cynic hat)

A) That would result in charges of racism
B) That involves more risk to the LEOs than they want to swallow

(/cynic hat)

Did I ever tell you guys my proposal for drunk drivers? Raise the penalty to a minimum sentence of ten years in prison. As soon as a couple people lost a decade of their life over this stupid shit, I think you’d see a lot less of it.

It was one of those usual brief annual puff pieces about how Drunk Driving Is Bad, M’kay?, so it’s entirely possible that the numbers were massaged or misrepresented a bit, especially when reported as “as compared to ‘x’ time…” It’s still not the drop that one would like to see, though.

Their deployment can indeed be a little strange, though. The one stop I saw recently was around Thanksgiving, and there must have been four or five cruisers, a couple of SUVs, and two trailers on a side road. A suitable amount for a busy freeway? Maybe, but this was on the road just outside of freaking Beaumont

Drinking and driving is responsible for many many deaths every year. Add in all the crimes people commit while under the influence of alcohol and the only question becomes, why is alcohol even legal? It is on the psychologist list for actual addictive drugs and it has a higher crime rate then guns and other related drugs combined.

read some of the stats here:

Im going to make myself a drink while I read further.

Because drinking itself harms no one.

Because we’ve made it illegal before, and we know the results.

It harms the alcoholic. That is why it is listed as an addictive drug with the APA. True it does not affect all people the same, but it is an addictive drug that does do extensive harm to a great number in the population.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy drinking myself… Im drinking now. But I also see it for what it is, a drug that seems to destroy some people.

Well the truth is, we made it illegal but with the level of corruption in government and law enforcement at the time, the law didnt have a chance.

I dont think we should ban it, but I do believe it causes great pain in society. Many more of us gain enjoyment from it so the desire of the many outweight the needs of the few. We buy our favorite drink and tell the poor addict to go join some cult like AA and dont bother us.

How “humane” we men are.