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OPP catch rash of impaired drivers

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Drivers are being warned that's its never okay to drink and drive, after OPP charged four local drivers with impaired driving in the last week.

“People still aren't getting the message,” said Provincial Constable Jim Davis of the OPP

However, recent changes in legislation have given officers more power on the roadsides and many are using them to crack down on drunk driving.

In October, the Criminal Code was amended to eliminate the need for officers to have reasonable suspicion of impairment to conduct a roadside breathalyzer, said Davis. Now, officers can conduct them routinely, such as during RIDE checks, or while stopped for any Highway Traffic Act violation, whether suspicion exists or not.

“It can definitely lead to more charges,” said Davis.

Additional legislation gives police the ability to charge a driver up to two hours after they've stopped driving, he said. For instance, in cases where an impaired driver a driver crashes, then leaves the scene, police were previously unable to prove they were impaired behind the wheel. That loophole has now been closed - if that driver is found, and breathes over the legal limit within two hours of the incident, the charge still applies, he said.

“It's really a recognition of the severity of impaired driving," said Davis. "It's a game changer.”

Improved training has also helped officers to better spot impaired drivers, he noted. As a reaction to the legalization of cannabis, Drug Recognition Experts have been teaching officers how to spot a wide variety of physiological signs

Please see “OPP,” P11

changes association with intoxication and drug use.

“We have a systematic test for spotting impaired drivers, and more experience with finding them,” he said.

Armed with extra training and legislation paid off this past week, with four impaired drivers charged and taken off local roads.

On Feb 1, members of the Rainy River District Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) observed a snowmobile being driven erratically.

Previous complaints had also been received about the snowmobiler. Officers initiated a traffic stop with the snowmobile and conducted an investigation.

As a result of the investigation, a 24 year old Fort Frances man has been charged criminally with:

Operate Conveyance with 80 or more milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood

He will appear in Fort Frances Provincial Court on February 24, 2020 at 9:30 am to answer to this charge.

On Feb. 3, OPP officers observed a vehicle being driven by a member of the public who was known to be under suspension for a criminal driving offence.

A traffic stop was initiated on Scott Street in Fort Frances and the officers conducted an investigation.

As a result of the investigation, a 50 year old Fort Frances man has been charged criminally with:

Operate Conveyance with 80 or more milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood; and

Operate Conveyance while prohibited under the Criminal Code.

He will appear in Fort Frances Provincial Court on February 24, 2020 at 9:30 am to answer to this charge.

The vehicle he was driving was impounded for 45 days under the Ministry of Transportation's (MTO's) Vehicle Impoundment Program.

On Jan. 30, the OPP was called to a complaint of a possible impaired driver. Officers located the suspect vehicle in the Don Park area of Atikokan. A traffic stop was initiated and an investigation was conducted.

As a result of the investigation, a 61 year old Atikokan resident has been charged criminally with:

Operating a conveyance with a blood alcohol concentration of 80 or more milligrams in 100 ml of blood; and

Operating a conveyance while impaired by alcohol.

On Feb. 4, the OPP was called to a complaint of a possible impaired driver. Officers located the suspect vehicle on Main Street in Atikokan. A traffic stop was initiated and an investigation was conducted.

As a result of the investigation, a 37 year old Atikokan man has been charged criminally with:

Operating a conveyance with a blood alcohol concentration of 80 or more ml in 100 ml of blood; and

Because the man registered a “fail” on an approved screening device, the vehicle was impounded for seven days and the driver's licence was suspended for 90 days.

Anyone witnessing a driver they suspect is impaired can call police at 9-1-1.

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