Social media may be making it easier for drunk drivers to bypass police RIDE programs, but passing out at a drive-through window at a fast-food restaurant will get you every time.
Thunder Bay Police said that’s exactly what happened over the holiday season while they were conducting their annual hunt for drivers under the influence.
“When the officer approached the car, the driver was found to be passed out, car running, at the window. When woken by the officer, the young man repeatedly tried to pay the officer for his order. The driver needed to be forcibly removed from the vehicle when being arrested,” traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter said in an email release.
Another driver, caught a week earlier driving on a suspended licence, was nabbed a second time at the exact same location.
“The officer remarked that he believed it was the exact same tow truck driver that removed the vehicle as well,” Porter said.
In total, 21 drivers were charged with impaired driving in December, about half caught as a result of the annual RIDE program.
Porter said police had to take a more conspicuous approach in 2013, moving away from the large roadblock-style stoppages on major arteries and focusing more on less traveled and rural roads.
“Neighborhoods began to see R.I.D.E programs that targeted party goers that have become very adept at eluding police in previous years. Social media is a recent phenomenon that can easily assist those who are intent on obstructing police efforts to detect impaired drivers,” Porter said.
“New techniques and approaches were introduced to make the RIDE program, first introduced in 1980, more current, relevant, and cost effective.”
Porter noted it appeared a lot of drivers were out in pyjamas, while cold weather made it a challenge for officers to conduct the RIDE programs.
Officers were re-assigned at 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day to cold-weather related calls to ensure public safety and protect those left to face the elements.