Toronto Police lay fewer impaired driving charges in 2018, but too early to consider a trend

Toronto Police have released the number of impaired driving charges for 2018 and there's been a drop from the year before. 

According to Traffic Services, there were 1,116 charges in 2018, which includes everything from refusing to supply a breath sample to impaired substances involved in collisions causing death. 

Of the 1,116, the vast majority were alcohol-related, with just 74 associated with drugs. 

That's a drop from 2017, when there were 1,312 charges. 

But Sgt. Alex Crews said it's too early to say if it's part of a long-term trend of people drinking and driving less. 

"I think the sample size is a little bit too small, but I'm going to be optimistic," he said about going into 2019. "That people are going to start making the right decisions."

"We would love to see that number go down and stop the carnage." 

Of this year's 1,116 charges, 170 came during the Holiday Ride period of mid-November to December 31st. 

Crews said any drop is welcome news. 

"We want the people to get that message that it is a choice to drink and drive," he said. 

During that Holiday Ride campaign, Crews said there was one incident that sticks out, which was pulling over a drunk driver when a sober passenger was in the front seat. 

"What I find disturbing about that is we have a perfectly sober individual sitting in the passenger side that could be driving and yet we have somebody who has chosen to get behind the wheel of a car while drinking and is impaired," he said. "Sometimes I just have to scratch my head when I see things like that."