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Impaired stats for city continue to disappoint

By Adam Riley Jan 4, 2024 | 6:00 PM

A member of the Thunder Bay Police Service speaks to a driver during the launch of the Festive R.I.D.E. program, in Thunder Bay on November 30th, 2023 (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

City police have released their 2023 Festive Ride Numbers, which saw 32 charges, 19 for alcohol, eight for drugs and five refusals to provide a sample.

Traffic Unit Constable Tom Armstrong says combined with the numbers from the rest of 2023 and compared to 2022, police aren’t seeing a decline, which he calls disappointing, despite all the messaging education and enforcement.

“So that’s kind of where we are banging our heads against the wall a little bit, but our numbers I think were up slightly from last year. Our total number for this [past] year was like 217 people were charged with impaired driving related offences.”

While numbers are one thing, notes Armstrong, trends are the concerning aspect.

In 2019 overall impaired driver numbers spiked over 200, which the service thought was an anomaly at the time, but they have not gone below that in five years.

Armstrong believes people just aren’t getting the message, and while speaking to media, recounted some serious incidents which took place last year.

“In March there was a fatal collision on Lyon Boulevard, a catastrophic accident there that took the life of a young woman, the driver is charged with a number of criminal charges including impaired driving. There was a recent one at Northwood Mall, where two kids could have been killed and were injured severely by an impaired driver.”

He adds he believes people are making the conscious decision to do it [driving while impaired], which baffles him and his fellow law enforcement colleagues.