Michelle Teeple of the OPP startled Dryden Rotary with some eye-opening statistics on drinking and driving in the Dryden area.
 
Teeple, a police officer for 23 years, thought drinking and driving by young people was on the decrease until she went into liquor store last May and found it almost bare so asked an employee why?  
 
Adults the employee said had been in buying liquor for their kids for pit parties.
 
During 2014 - 2015 impaired driving in Ontario went up 3%. In the area, from Marathon to the Manitoba border it was up 2% but in the Dryden catchment area, it went up 52%.
 
Alcohol-related collisions in Ontario are up 33% . The Marathon to Manitoba section is up 19%, but again the Dryden area lead the pack; up, a whopping 129 %.
 
Impaired driving charges on rise
 
Impaired driving charges have steadily risen for each of the past three years. In 2013 there were 28 impaired charges; in 2014 thirty-eight, and 2015 forty-eight. At the same time, the average age went from 43 in 2013 to 33 in 2015.
 
As a follow-up, the OPP have consulted with other agencies to see if there were common denominators to account for this increase. One thing they  learned was that the unofficial drinking age in Dryden is  about 15.
 
 
P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth)
 
As a response, the OPP are trying to educate young people about the dangers of drinking and driving. One component is having those convicted of the offense tell other students of results of a conviction.
 
OPP have instituted the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) Program.  It is a one-day injury awareness and prevention program for youth age 15 and older. Developed in 1986, at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in Toronto, the program is a vital component of the growing community effort to reduce death and injury in alcohol and drug and risk-related crashes and incidents.
 
Sharing the consequences
Drunk driving simulator
 
Teeple shared that the OPP have now received a grant to acquire a simulator to emulate impaired driving. The interactive machine can also simulate the texting and driving experience.
 
There is also funding for a coordinator to get the various agencies together to work with Dryden High School pupils and Grade 7 and 8 students to show what happens as a result of drinking and driving.
 
The Liquor Licence Act on the sale of alcohol to a minor
 
(3.0.1) Upon conviction for contravening subsection 30 (1), (2), (3), (4) or (4.1),
 
(a) a corporation is liable to a fine of not more than $500,000; and
 
(b) an individual is liable to a fine of not more than $200,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year or both.
 
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