Police in Ontario resort to ‘naming and shaming’ drunk drivers

York Regional Police and South Simcoe Police Service say they hope it will be a deterrant

High numbers of impaired drivers have prompted two Ontario police forces to resort to public shaming as a potential deterrent.

York Regional Police and the South Simcoe Police Service, just north of Toronto, said they’ve documented either stubbornly high or rapidly increasing instances of impaired driving in recent years.

They said since high-profile cases and public awareness initiatives have done little to curb the behaviour, they’re reversing long-standing policies and beginning to identify those who wind up facing charges of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

South Simcoe Police said the move is temporary for now, lasting only through the month of December, but York regional police said their new approach is expected to stay in place indefinitely.

“We’re really trying every possible avenue we have at our disposal because we haven’t seen the numbers decreasing,” Const. Laura Nicolle of the York Region force said. “We really are at that place where we have to keep being aggressive. We can’t allow it to go on.”

Nicolle said York Region officers have seen persistently high numbers over the past few years, adding at least 1,400 impaired driving charges have been laid in the region throughout 2018 alone.

READ MORE: B.C. Supreme Court upholds province’s drunk-driving laws

Five deaths in the past 11 months have done nothing to keep people from taking the wheel while under the influence, she said, adding even a particularly high-profile tragedy involving a drunk driver three years ago didn’t bring people to their senses.

In 2015, three young children and their grandfather were killed when Marco Muzzo slammed into their car while on his way home from a bachelor party.

In South Simcoe, police said they’ve documented a surge in impaired driving offences since 2016.

They said the force’s month-long Festive RIDE program netted 15 arrests in December 2016, but said the number jumped to 26 one year later.

One criminal defence lawyer is openly skeptical that the move will be an effective deterrent, adding that it also stands to pose problems for the accused long after charges have been resolved.

Sean Robichaud said public identifications can live indefinitely online and brand someone for life, potentially having ramifications on everything from social standing to employment prospects.

He said police forces may lack the resources to update their online lists if someone accused of impaired driving has been acquitted or had their charges withdrawn.

Nicolle said York Region police will expunge the names of those facing charges after 30 days. Robichaud, however, said the damage may already have been done.

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local artists put their talent on display at the Terrace Art Gallery

Despite the winter weather, the event was filled with art enthusiasts as they perused local works

Extreme winter weather leads to Monday school and bus route closures

BC Transit, School District 82 and Coast Mountain College all announced closures

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Another snowstorm expected for Terrace and Kitimat area

Wind is expected up to 80 km per hour

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Larry Walker Jr. and Sr. keeping expectations low for hall-of-fame induction

Walker needs 75 percent of votes in order to be inducted into Cooperstown

Gene Simmons to launch new Titans of Rock music festival in Grand Forks

The rock legend has partnered with Chuck Varabioff to run Titans of Rock in Grand Forks

VIDEO: 17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

Most Read