WATCH: According to Durham police, impaired driving calls in the region have gone up substantially. Brittany Rosen reports.

According to Durham police, the number of impaired driving calls in 2019 has gone up substantially — reporting a 19 per cent increase over 2018’s numbers.

Deputy Chief Todd Rollauer says this could be for two reasons.

“It’s good in one aspect that our residents are actively involved — they’re participating in roadway safety — but the numbers are concerning as well because some of those do translate into impaired driving arrests,” he said.

Durham police have been cracking down on impaired driving by conducting holiday check-stops for over 30 years.

For the next six weeks, DRPS will be pulling drivers over and testing them for alcohol and any other illegal substances as a part of their Festive R.I.D.E campaign.

“We’ll see people coming from their community events, they’ll be coming from their work events, dinners, parties, and they didn’t plan a way home,” said the program’s acting sgt., Harry Wirtz.

“They figured they weren’t going to drink any alcohol but somehow that changed.”

Michelle Crabb with Mothers Against Drunk Driving is all too familiar with the impact impaired driving has on families, after losing her brother, Taylor James, in 2007.

“Me and my family and millions of other families are living proof that this is the most devastating thing that can ever happen to a family,” she said.

“You don’t ever want a police officer coming to your door at three in the morning, telling you that you’ve lost someone.”

During the R.I.D.E. campaign last year, Durham police charged 117 people with drinking and driving offences.

“The numbers have gone up, which is surprising,” Wirtz said. “With social media and the amount of communication that’s out there, this shouldn’t be happening.”

As always, police are reminding motorists to plan ahead. If you’re driving and you see something suspicious on the roads, you’re advised to call 911.

Source: Global News