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

Horgan says Surrey mayor opened ‘hornets’ nest’ with Surrey policing transition

Surrey election battle heating up over Doug McCallum’s controversial cop transition

OUR VIEW: Way too many Surrey COVID-19 cases

We all need to take this threat seriously

‘Illegal’ Canadian crab traps, fishing gear seized in U.S. waters near White Rock

Investigation continues after joint operation between Canadian, American authorities in Boundary Bay

OPINION: It’s Time for Surrey to be Heard

Which party will listen to Surrey voters?

COVID-19 exposures at Surrey schools: An updated list

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Return-It depots change beverage container deposits from 20 to 10 cents

Change will be implemented on Oct. 1, with a transition period being held until Oct. 11

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Most Read