Posted by Ed Iskra on Jun 04, 2018
In response to a spike in impaired driving arrests two years ago, Sergeant Michelle Teeple began to fight back galvanizing leaders and agencies in our community to form a group to tackle the issue of impaired driving.  

DAIRS stands for Dryden and Ignace Impaired Reduction Strategy and it’s a community mobilization geared to find ways to address a problem.

When asked how the public can help, Sergeant Teeple replied that “the police doesn’t need help in arresting impaired drivers or telling someone’s next of kin that their loved one died”. This just “represents the back end of the equation.”   It’s all about the focus on education and awareness, and keeping in mind that “impaired driving is a preventable thing and an unfortunate consequence of poor planning and poor decision making”.

Through a Front Line Policing Grant, the local OPP were able to purchase $55,000 worth of equipment along with the services of a coordinator to help train the community service officers around the region.  The Rotary Club of Dryden then stepped in to donate funds needed for a trailer to transport the equipment to detachments and high schools across the region.

This year the OPP and Dryden Police have laid 11 charges of impaired driving compared to 40 charges in all of 2017 and a peak of 66 charges in 2016.  The average age of those charged is continuing to climb suggesting that young drivers are getting the message.

Despite the growing concerns about drug abuse, alcohol remains a constant associated factor and keeps raising its head as a contributing factor in other types of violent crimes including sexual abuse.=

In this photo (left), an unnamed Rotarian, trying out “Impaired Goggles”, attempts to bluff his audience into believing he is walking in a straight line and in complete control.
With assistance from Constable Patrina Taylor-Hertz, Sergeant Teeple invited  Rotarians to try out the stationary Impaired Driver Simulator which is based on a gaming system that tests the operator’s response to three different modes: normal, distracted and impaired.


Courtesy of Shaw Cable TV by Tom Johnson