Impaired driving arrests at all-time high in 2018

Monday, January 7, 2019 - 15:15
Thunder Bay
Date Published: 2019-01-07

Impaired driving, or at least the interception of it, appears to be at an all-time high, according to the final 2018 figures from the Thunder Bay Police Service.

With the conclusion of the Festive RIDE season, the police service is reporting that 178 people were arrested for impaired operation of a motor vehicle in 2018, up from 175 in 2017. That figure, however, is consistent with the significantly increased number over the past few years. In the first half of the decade, the number of impaired drivers arrested per year averaged 120.

Of special interest in 2018 was the increased occurrence of drug-impaired driving. The Service, having invested in additional Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition Expert training for officers, has seen the benefits already, with an exponential increase in the number of drug-impaired drivers detected.

In the first half of 2018, only 4 individuals, or approximately five per cent of drivers, were arrested for drug-impairment. The rest were charged with alcohol-impaired driving. In the second half of 2018 alone, however, the number of drug-impaired drivers ballooned to 23, or nearly 23 per cent of all impaired drivers.

That figure is expected to continue to grow as further training of officers in 2019 will improve the Service’s ability to remove these dangerous drivers from the roadways.

Some of the key figures from 2018 are as follows:

- The average age of an impaired driver was 35
- The youngest driver arrested was 16; the oldest was 77
- 72% of impaired drivers were male
- The highest blood alcohol concentration recorded was 397mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood –nearly 5 times the legal limit
- 41% of impaired drivers were involved in a collision
- The 2:00 am hour saw the greatest frequency of impaired drivers (15%)
- Nearly 40% of impaired drivers were caught between midnight and 4:00 am
- Almost half of impaired drivers were arrested on the weekend

Distribution of impaired drivers was fairly ubiquitous throughout the city, although the downtown cores did host a slightly elevated share of the incidents.

The Service will continue its efforts in 2019 to reduce impaired driving through public messaging as well as focussed projects. Please report any incidence of impaired driving to the police and help make our roads safer for everyone.



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