US & Canada

Canada police propose releasing names of alleged drink drivers

Car keys by a drink Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The proposed rules would name people charged with drink driving, even if they have not been convicted.

An Ontario police department is proposing to "name and shame" those charged with impaired driving.

York Regional Police, which serves the suburbs of Toronto, says they hope publicising drink-driving charges will help keep them off the road.

In the past, they did not release names for privacy reasons.

But after they laid nine charges in one weekend in January, York police say enough is enough.

The final straw, so to speak, occurred on Sunday morning at 1:40 am local time, when York police found a 56-year-old man slumped over his steering wheel in the middle of an intersection.

Paramedics and police had to honk their horns and flash their lights to wake him up, and police later laid over 80 charges related to impaired driving after he failed a breathalyser test.

We don't know his name because York police do not routinely release the names of those charged with drink driving.

But that may change. On Monday, the police department tweeted that "We've been discussing posting the names of all charged with impaired driving."

"It's not necessarily to shame, it's more to bring light to the issue of the number of people being charged with this offence," says police spokesperson Andy Pattenden.

A few regions in Ontario are already doing this, Mr Pattenden says, but York region has refrained from doing so up until now, citing "privacy reasons".

"When a person is charged, it doesn't really mean that they are convicted in court," he said. "[Naming them] can affect their job and their position in the community."

In Ontario, about 80% of people charged with impaired driving are convicted, according to Statistics Canada.

Mr Pattenden said the department is considering changing its policy because of the growing problem of drink-driving in the area.

Last year, local man Marko Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing three young children and their grandfather while driving under the influence. His SUV collided with their minivan.

Related Topics

More on this story