Deputy Chief Paul Martin and S/Sgt. Mark Morissette called for a figurative "time out" among motorists as a disturbing trend is emerging in the annual Festive RIDE campaign.
"We are very concerned with the number of motorists we are catching in this year's campaign," said the Deputy, "So far, we have charged 72 motorists with drinking and driving offences and last year after three weeks, we had charged 66."
To put this in perspective, we are exceeding last year's total and last year ended up being the highest year on record in Durham Region.
We will be increasing our outreach efforts, including reaching out to more bar and tavern owners to enlist their support in an education campaign.
S/Sgt. Morissette from Traffic Services reminded reporters that drinking and driving is a serious criminal matter.
"If you see someone driving in an erratic manner, please call 911," he said, "It's that serious of a matter."
In a span of 7 days, the DRPS has had five serious collisions involving alcohol:
The first occurred on November 24 when a driver and passenger were seriously injured after their vehicle collided with a tree on Oxford Street in Oshawa. Investigators believe this vehicle was involved in an earlier fail to remain collision and alcohol was involved.
On November 29, three serious collisions took place across our region. The first happened just after midnight in the area of Holt Road and Taunton Road. A vehicle went off the road into the bush and burst into flames. Bystanders pulled the driver from the vehicle and he was taken to hospital with serious injuries including severe burns.
A short time later in Pickering a vehicle was travelling along Brock Road South when driver lost control and went off the road. The vehicle hit several concrete culverts and was badly damaged. Luckily the driver was able to walk away from the collision.
About 3:00 that morning, patrolling officers noticed a vehicle drive onto the 401 off-ramp at Simcoe Street in Oshawa. Several vehicles travelling on the Eastbound 401 including a transport truck had to swerve to avoid him. Officers had to carefully proceed onto the highway ramp to pull the driver over. He had a passenger with him and both were unharmed.
The most recent alcohol-related collision took place on Friday November 30, in Clarington when a vehicle rolled over on Courtice Road. The female driver sustained serious injuries including a broken neck and fractured spine.
thumb (JPG file, 47.8K bytes)
Deputy Chief Martin and S/Sgt. Morissette answer media questions (JPG file, 179.7K bytes)
Deputy Chief Martin being interviewed by reporters (JPG file, 192.7K bytes)
S/Sgt. Morissette speaks to the media (JPG file, 153.4K bytes)