The Impaired Countermeasures Unit is a dedicated and specialized group of approximately 20 police officers, within Road Safety Services, who have been trained as Qualified Breath Technicians. These officers are primarily responsible for the testing of persons Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), who have been arrested for a Drinking and Driving related offence in the Regional of Peel. Select members of the Impaired Countermeasures Unit have also been specially trained as Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE). DRE officers investigate persons operating vehicles who's ability to do so may be impaired by prescription or non- prescription Drugs. This could also include persons that may have inhaled chemicals such as paint, glue or gasoline.
Members of the Impaired Countermeasures Unit also provide educational resources to the public about the Criminal Code of Canada and Highway Traffic Act as it pertains to Drinking and Driving and related Criminal and Provincial driver licence suspensions that can arise from being convicted of such an offence.
In July of 1996, The Impaired Driving Task Force was formed at the request of Chief Noel P Catney to formulate strategies on dealing with impaired drivers. The mandate of the committee was as follows:
- To effect more arrests of impaired drivers within the Peel Regional Police Jurisdiction;
- To maximize deterrents to impaired drivers within the Region of Peel Jurisdiction;
- To streamline the procedure in dealing with impaired drivers.
The Last Drink Program and Operation Lookout were established to target the drinking driver. A zero tolerance policy was implemented to deal with impaired drivers. Procedural changes were implemented which minimized the amount of time front line officers would require in processing impaired drivers.
R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere)
Peel Regional Police operate R.I.D.E. programs year-round on a weekly basis.
In addition to the yearly R.I.D.E. program, the department also operates a Festive Season R.I.D.E., which operates everyday from the end of November to the beginning of the New Year. Peel Regional Police is committed to a 'zero tolerance' policy regarding impaired driving.
R.I.D.E. Program continues to remove impaired drivers from the road:
During the 2015 festive R.I.D.E. program officers assigned stopped 61,969 vehicles in Mississauga and Brampton. In total 233 people were arrested for drinking and driving related offences and 315 people were issued a WARN range driving suspension.
WARN Range penalties
In 2009 the Provincial Government approved the changes to increase the penalties to the WARN Range drinking and Driving suspensions. The new legislation provides Police in Ontario the authority to suspend the licence of any driver found operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol level reading between 50 and 100mgs.
- First Time - 3 day suspension, and $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty
- Second Time- 7 day suspension, mandatory alcohol education program, and $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty
- Third Time - 30 day suspension mandatory alcohol education program, six-month ignition interlock licence condition, and $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty
- Subsequent - 30 day suspension mandatory alcohol education program, six-month ignition interlock licence condition, mandatory medical evaluation, and $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty
- Ontario's Zero BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) for Drivers 21 and Under Novice drivers of all ages in the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) must also maintain a zero BAC while driving. If you are a novice driver and are caught with any amount of alcohol in your blood, you will receive an immediate 24-hour roadside driver licence suspension, and if convicted, will face a fine of $60-$500 and will receive a suspension period as per the Novice Driver Escalating Sanction scheme, up to and including cancellation of the novice licence. You will also have to return to the start of GLS
What could happen to a person arrested for a drinking and driving offence?
If any person is arrested and charged for a Drinking and Driving offence, such as excess blood Alcohol or refusing to provide a breath sample, that person will automatically have their Driving licence suspended for a period of 90 Days. This is referred to as an A.D.L.S. or Automatic Drivers Licence Suspension. Also if the vehicle that they were operating will be impounded for a period of seven days.
It doesn't matter who owns the car or if you rented or borrowed the car from a friend.
If the person arrested is a first time offender and was not involved in a motor vehicle collision and they are convicted, they would receive a penalty in excess of a $750.00 fine and a minimum one year driver's licence suspension. The fines, suspensions and potential jail time will increase with the severity of the incident and increase with the numbers of times you are convicted.
What could happen if I drive after my license has been suspended?
If you are stopped while driving a vehicle after you have been prohibited by a court to do so, for a Drinking and Driving offence. You will be arrested and charged for Driving while your licence is suspended and you will be sent back to the court system to answer to the charge, for Drive Disqualified under the criminal code.
The V.I.P. (Vehicle Impoundment Program) authorizes Police in Ontario to seize and keep the vehicle that you are driving for 45 Days for the first offence, 90 days for the second offence and 180 days for the third offence.
Again, it doesn't matter who owns the car or if you rented or borrowed the car from a friend.
R.I.D.E. program, a tool for all Seasons:
A study of motor vehicle fatal collisions, overlaid with major holidays/events across North America, showed that during Holiday long Weekends have a significant increase in impaired driving fatal motor vehicle collisions occurred.
In 2015 and 2016 the Peel Regional Police conducted R.I.D.E. spot-checks during all Holiday long weekends and Major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, Grey Cup, NHL playoffs and after Major League Soccer events.
IF YOU PLAN TO DRINK - DON'T DRIVE. ARRANGE FOR A DESIGNATED DRIVER, TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT, CALL A TAXI OR A SOBER FRIEND. STAY THE NIGHT.
What can I do to report an impaired driver?
If you observe a driver of a motor vehicle doing some or all of the following things, they maybe impaired and police can be contacted to investigate the driver to ensure they are safe to continue driving:
- Swerving within a single laneway or between more than one laneway
- Driving at varied speeds, above and below the speed limit
- Driving at an extremely fast or slow rate of speed
- Driving without headlights on, or driving with only parking lights
- 'Running' Amber or Red traffic lights
- Driving with windows open in very cold weather
- Making wide turns, and/or hitting curbs
- Driving with a flat tire
- Slow response when stopping at traffic signal/signs
- Observe a driver staggering or appearing unsteady on their feet as they walk towards their car.
- (You don't have to wait for the driver to drive away before calling the police. If the driver remains sitting in the driver's seat, maybe slumped over, you can still call the police and/or ambulance to check on the persons health and well-being)
- If you're in line at a store and detect the odour of alcohol coming from another customer & you see them later enter a car as the driver.
I've spotted a possible Impaired Driver - Now what?
Most importantly - stay safe. Don't let the situation become more hazardous then it may already be.
- Call the police, using 9-1-1 services, as soon as you can - safely. (Cell phones make calling in an impaired driver much easier, but remember to pull over, and if not safe to do so, drive with care and attention to the road yourself)
- Tell the police what you have observed and what direction/street you are traveling on
- Provide a licence plate of the motor vehicle
- Provide a vehicle description including colour
- Describe the driver (male/female), clothing, hair colour, facial hair or distinguishing features
What happens after I call and the police stop the car?
The police will investigate the driver. If the driver is found to be impaired, the police may request the following: A written statement, of what you observed and if you had passengers in your car, they may also be asked to provide a written statement of what they observed. If you called in an impaired driver, but couldn't remain nearby, ensure you provide the 911 call taker with a telephone number you can be reached at.
Last Drink Program
The Last Drink program was established to allow the police and the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario (LLBO) to use their resources in the most efficient manner. The information provided to the LLBO by police makes it possible for their inspectors to target specific premises and provides details of all incidents involving a subject establishment for use in any subsequent judicial hearing.
In addition to collecting data on 'Last Drink' establishments, Peel Regional Police continues to review data collected from impaired driving arrests, more recently examining street locations and intersections were impaired drivers have been arrested on an ongoing basis and directing R.I.D.E. programs and other enforcement into those locations. The results have produced at times, a reduction in overall traffic stops, but an increase in impaired driving apprehensions.
The Intoxilyzer 8000C
Peel Regional Police are currently using the Intoxilyzer 8000C for breath testing purposes which involve drinking drivers.
All members of the Impaired Countermeasures Unit are qualified by the Centre of Forensic Sciences in its operation.
Any person arrested for a drinking and driving offence must by law, provide samples of breath into this instrument.
Alcotest 7410 GL
Drager Alcotest 6810
At the roadside, a police officer may ask you to provide a sample of breath into an approved screening device.
The device that Peel Regional Police currently use is the Drager Alcotest 6810. It's a simple test that takes approximately 4 seconds once the instrument is made ready.
Any person suspected of consuming Alcohol while Driving must by law provide a sample of their breath into this instrument at the demand of a Police officer. Failure to provide a sample of your breath is a criminal offence of failing to Provide a Breath Sample.
Road Safety Services Command Vehicle
Road Safety Services Command Vehicle is equipped as a multi-purpose mobile unit. Primarily intended for use in Road Safety Services, it has been designed to accommodate on site breath testing for the weekly RIDE spot checks, as well as for use on a daily basis, during each annual Festive Season RIDE campaign.
In addition to its regular usage during the RIDE programs, the vehicle is also utilized by Road Safety Services for use in: Commercial Vehicle Truck Inspections, and is regularly used as a mobile command centre during various Traffic related clinics/courses, public events and has been used as a mobile command centre for Major Collisions in the Region of Peel.
The Road Safety Services Command Vehicle, with an operational breath testing room and workable office area are of great assistance to front line officers in streamlining the time required to process an impaired driver.
Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST)
On October 2nd 2016, the Ministry of Transportation - Ontario introduced new licence sanctions in regards to impaired operation of a motor vehicle by drugs. Police can now use SFST's to evaluate suspected impaired drivers at the roadside. If a driver is determined to be impaired, the officer can issue a drivers licence suspension.
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test is a battery of three tests performed during a traffic stop in order to determine if a driver is impaired by alcohol or by drugs. The three tests that make up the SFST are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk -and-turn, and the one-leg-stand tests. Developed in the 1970's, these tests are scientifically validated and are admissible as evidence in court.
The HGN test is performed to observe whether the drivers' eyes involuntarily jerk as a stimulus is moved side to side. Both the walk and turn and one leg stand test are classified as "divided attention" tests that are easily performed by most sober drivers. They require a subject to listen and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements. Impaired persons have difficulty with tasks requiring their attention to be divided between simple mental and physical tasks.
The new MTO licence sanction includes a 3, 7 or 30 day suspension of ones drivers licence if an SFST is conducted and the subject performs poorly. This sanction is only issued by a trained SFST officer.
If a subject refuses to comply with the SFST demand made by the officer at the roadside, a criminal charge of refuse will be laid. This will include a 90 day licence suspension and a 7 day vehicle impoundment.
Ignition Interlock Program
Individuals who are convicted of an impaired driving offence Under the Criminal Code of Canada are subject to Ontario's Ignition Interlock Program.
Please visit the MTO web site for full information on this program.
Impaired Driving Statistics
In 2010 it is estimated that impaired driving killed 1,082 persons and injured 63,821. 1,651,650 vehicle crashes were reported as property damage only and it is estimated that 210,932 of those were impaired related. (Data Source: MADD Canada)
In 2015 in the Region of Peel 1361 people were arrested for a Drinking and Driving related offence which is a 5% decrease over the previous year when 1434 were arrested.
The public is reminded that impaired driving is not just a 'night time' activity. Impaired drivers are found on the road at all times of the day. (March 2004 Journal Article: Drinking and Driving Not Only at Night or on Weekends, J.G. Wigmore, C.J. House and J. W. Patrick) http://www.csfs.ca/eng/journal/2004/1 (Select 'Past Issues')
Matt Parr Apprehension, Academic and Auxiliary Awards
On October 26, 1996, Peel Regional Police officer Matthew (Matt) PARR tragically died when his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. The following year, Peel Regional Police began to honour the memory of this lost officer by creating the Matt Parr Award, which recognized the efforts of officers who effectively apprehended Impaired Drivers.
The Matt PARR Award was later followed by the Matt Parr Academic Award, which was is presented to one recruit from each graduating class who exemplifies the highest standards of the Peel Regional Police.
In recognition of the significant role played by Auxiliary officers, the Matt Parr Auxiliary Officer Award was established and is presented to an Auxiliary member, Constable or Sergeant, who has volunteered the highest number of operational hours during the year-long RIDE program.
2014-2015 Matt Parr Recipients
Constable Matt Parr Apprehension Awards
- Cst. Ed Nicholson (ICM - Presently assigned to the Airport Division)
- Constable Ian Kosher (ICM)
- Constable Dane Pallett (ICM)
- Constable Dan Simmonds (ICM)
- Constable Kevin Morrision (11 Division)
- Constable Dhiren Khatri (11 Division)
- Constable Ben French (12 Division - Currently assigned to ICM)
- Constable Mani Sharifi (21 Division)
- Constable Taylor Halfyard (22 Division - Presently assigned to ICM)
Constable Matt Parr Academic Awards (Recruit Recipients)
Constable Josh DiMarco (12 Division)
Constable Deanna VanRaalte (22 Division)
Constable David Elford (22 Division)
Auxiliary Officer Award
Auxiliary Constable Ted Siu