Police caught almost 200 drinking drivers last year and the statistic has police concerned.
The number of alcohol-related driving offences in 2012 is the highest in the 17-year history of the MRC des Collines Police, according to force spokesperson Martin Fournel.
He isn’t sure whether there are actually more drinking drivers on the road these days or if his officers are catching more of them, but one thing is for certain: the Gatineau Hills region has far too many impaired drivers behind the wheel.
“It’s raising some question for sure,” Fournel told the Low Down after releasing the stats last week that tallied 192 cases of impaired driving for 2012, compared with 149 in 2011. The number seems to be rising yearly.
With the Outaouais holding the top spot in the province for alcohol consumption, according to a 2011 health survey by the Agence de la sante et des service Sociaux de l’Outaouais, one would think not having taxi services in the region would be a main factor in explaining the high drinking and driving rate.
But Fournel says most impaired drivers caught behind the wheel while under the influence are actually from the city. He thinks most drivers assume they have less of a chance of getting nabbed in the outlying areas.
“People think there is less surveillance in rural areas, but they should think again,” said Fournel. “It’s not rare for a cop to arrest two (separate) people (for drunk driving) in one night. It happened to me.”
Although the DUI cases seem to be on the rise, Fournel was pleased to note there were only arrests on New Year’s Eve.
He also noted that fatal accidents dropped dramatically from previous years, with only four road deaths in 2012. That’s in stark contrast to last year’s stats where 13 accidents took the lives of 19 people on our roads.
“Most of the deaths this year were caused by ATVs or snowmobiles,” said Fournel. “Four deaths is still too many, but it’s much better than last year.