Toronto police arrested over 1,100 people for suspected impaired driving last year

Toronto police say they arrested 1,107 people for allegedly driving while impaired due to drugs or alcohol last year.

Sgt. Jason Kraft, spokesperson for Toronto police’s traffic services, said the number is “disappointing,” given that provincial restrictions were in place for much of 2020 and residents were urged to stay home and travel for essential reasons only due to the pandemic.

The total number of impaired driving related arrests happened between Jan. 1 and Dec. 28.

“The act of impaired driving is 100 per cent preventable and it’s unacceptable. It’s considered a crime in progress,” Kraft told CBC Toronto on Tuesday.

“I’m disappointed that there were any arrests made. One arrest is one too many.”

Kraft said police arrested 87 people for impaired driving during its Holiday RIDE program that ran from Nov. 21, 2020 to Jan. 2, 2021. Police issued 60 three-day driving suspensions.

Thousands called 911 to report impaired driving

Police had set up 344 Holiday RIDE checkpoints where drivers were stopped and checked for sobriety, he said. 

Organizations such as Arrive Alive Drive Sober, Crime Stoppers, MADD Toronto and Smart Serve Toronto helped police carry out the annual checks, police said in a news release on Tuesday. The organizations helped to share the RIDE message: reduce impaired driving everywhere, police added.

“Sadly, for every person arrested for impaired driving, there are more that go undetected,” police said in the release.

“Police want everyone to see impaired driving as a crime in progress and to call 911 if they suspect someone is driving impaired. Know that even one alcoholic drink can reduce someone’s ability to react when things suddenly happen.”

Police said thousands of residents called 911 to report suspected impaired drivers last year.

Kraft urged drivers, before going out, to have a plan and ensure everyone arrives home safely.

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