Impaired driver arrests increase in Sarnia

Point of view of an impaired driver. (Photo by U.S. Air ForceAirman 1st Class Zachary Hada/Released)

More drunk drivers were taken off city streets last year.

Sarnia police Cst. John Sottosanti said there was a big jump in the number of arrested impaired drivers in 2019.

“In 2018, we charged 46 people with either impaired or over 80, and I think it was either three or five impaired by drugs,” said Sottosanti. “Last year, 2019, our stats went up significantly and we had 70 impaired by alcohol and 13 by drugs.”

Sarnia Police Chief Norm Hansen said the statistics are not an exact indication that more people are driving impaired, but they do know that they’ve arrested a lot more.

“I want to stress that I do think the message is getting out there, particularly with young people,” said Hansen. “I like to try and look at this as kind of a glass half full thing. We are seeing far more people willing to pick up a phone and report impaired driving, and therefore I think we’re making more arrests.”

The consequences for drinking and driving include vehicle impoundment, suspended licenses, fines and jail time.

Penalties for registering a warning for blood alcohol concentration can range from a three-day licence suspension and fine for first-time offenders to a 30-day suspension, fine and installation of an ignition interlock system for repeat offenders.