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Impaired driving charges in York Region continue to rise: police

Last Updated Nov 23, 2018 at 4:06 pm EDT

Const. Andy Pattenden holds a photo of the Neville-Lake children killed by drunk driver Marco Muzzo, at the launch of the York Regional Police holiday RIDE program on Nov. 21, 2018. HANDOUT/Twitter

Police in York Region say they are dealing with more cases of impaired driving this year, including five fatal crashes involving alcohol or drugs.

They released the numbers Wednesday as they launched their first holiday RIDE campaign since Canada legalized recreational marijuana last month.

So far in 2018, officers have laid 1,210 charges, up from 1,172 at the same time last year.

They say although alcohol is the cause of most impaired driving cases, officers have laid 10 charges of drug-impaired driving since legalization on Oct. 17.

In the same time period, the OPP charged 16 people who were allegedly driving while impaired by cannabis on Ontario highways.

Police say they’re concerned the number will continue to rise.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, the percentage of Canadian drivers killed in crashes who test positive for drugs (40 per cent) now exceeds the number of those who test positive for alcohol (33 per cent).

Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada.