Drunk and texting
Perth County OPP recently stopped and charged a driver that was placing all users of the roadway at risk.
At 6:40 p.m. on August 3, an officer spotted a pickup truck travelling east on Queen Street East in St. Marys. The officer observed the driver chatting on his cell phone. Upon stopping the truck, it was discovered the driver had been drinking alcohol. A roadside test was completed which resulted in a fail.
The 37-year-old man was arrested for having over 80 milligrams of alcohol in his blood. He was transported to the Sebringville OPP Detachment where he provided two samples of his breath to a qualified intoxilizer technician; both tests were above the legal limit.
The Waterloo resident will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Stratford on September 16. He received an automatic 90 day driver’s license suspension and the motor vehicle was impounded for seven days.
Record low numbers for long weekend
It was a busy long weekend for the OPP as they stepped up enforcement across the province on roads, waterways, and trails.
On roads, the OPP was counting on motorists to comply with the Move Over law and they also looked for aggressive drivers, impaired drivers, those in violations of seat belt laws, and motorists who drove while distracted.
Over the weekend, the OPP reported one total fatality province-wide on the roads and another fatality in a marine incident.
According to OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis, the 2013 Civic Holiday long weekend saw the lowest number of fatalities in areas under OPP jurisdiction in almost 20 years.
“I believe the public did an excellent job cooperating with our officers to keep the long weekend safe for everyone,” said Lewis. “I am extremely pleased to see the Civic Holiday long weekend end with the lowest fatality rate since 1995 and I encourage drivers, boaters and trail-users to keep this positive trend up so that we can have one of the lowest fatality rates on record for the entire year.”
Despite the low fatality rate, the OPP laid numerous charges for various offenses throughout the province over the weekend. These include 290 charges for not obeying the Move Over law, 6,052 charges for speeding, 83 street racing charges, 375 seat belt charges, 96 charges for driving while impaired by drugs or having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above 0.08, and 233 distracted driving charges.
The OPP also issued 91 roadside license suspensions to drivers with a BAC in the Warn Range of 0.05 to 0.08.
Perth County numbers were comparatively high. “If you compare the numbers per capita, there were a lot of charges laid in Perth County,” says Constable Kees Wijnands of the Sebringville detachment.
In total, Perth County issued 77 speeding tickets, eight seatbelt charges, two impaireds, three liquor-related charges, and two drug offenses.
Perth was the highest in distracted driving charges, nabbing six total over the course of the long weekend. The next highest were Elgin, Brant, and Huron with five.
Perth also laid one of western region’s seven failure to move over charges.
Wijnands notes that straight comparisons are difficult due to the nature of the different areas of the province. Perth County’s marine infractions, for example, are substantially lower than other regions due to the lack of large lakes.
Wijnands also says the bulk of the province’s failure to move over charges were laid on 400-series highways.