Ontario police to socially shame impaired drivers

Due to increasing numbers of impaired drivers on local roads, two southern Ontario police forces have resorted to public shaming as a strategy to potentially deter future offenses.

Two police services operating north of Toronto, York Regional Police and the South Simcoe Police Service, said they have observed a steady augmentation in the numbers of impaired drivers in the recent years. Chief Eric Jolliffe of York Regional Police has issued a statement on December 3, 2018 stating that names of individuals charged with impaired-related criminal driving offences will be published every Monday at www.yrp.ca in the media releases section.

“It’s clear that something has to change,” said Chief Jolliffe. “Effective immediately, York Regional Police will name all of the drivers charged with impaired-related criminal driving offences, to further make impaired driving socially unacceptable and so that members of our community can assist with notifying police if these offenders choose to drive while under suspension. Innocent lives are put at risk every day by this irresponsible and criminal behavior. We are not giving up.”

The first list of offenders has been released, and includes 16 individuals charged (but not convicted) between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3, along with information pertaining to their ages and hometowns. The list has been shared on Twitter and Facebook.
South Simcoe Police said the motion to release the names of individuals charged with impaired driving is temporary for now, and in effect only through the month of December. However, York regional police expects this new approach to be implemented indefinitely.

In his interview with CTV news, York Regional Police Cost. Andy Pattenden emphasized the case of Marco Muzzo, who slammed into a car with three young children and their grandfather inside, resulting in their deaths, in September 2015. Muzzo pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and received a 10-year sentence. It was thought that the publicity and attention received by the Muzzo case would result in decreased incidence of impaired driving; however, the numbers of impaired driving offenses have only seen an increase since 2016.

The new policy of naming impaired drivers came into effects two weeks prior to Part 2 of the new impaired driving legislation taking force, which significantly reforms the entire Criminal Code regime dealing with transportation offences, including alcohol-impaired driving. According to the new changes, police officers who have an approved screening device on hand will be able to test a breath sample of any driver they lawfully stop, even without reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.

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