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St. Patrick’s Day weekend, back-to-school enforcement leads to charges: Ottawa police

While Ottawa police didn’t appear to catch any alcohol-impaired drivers over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, they did charge one driver with drug-impaired driving and issued more than 160 tickets as a result of the beefed-up traffic enforcement they rolled out over the party-heavy weekend.

The allegedly drug-impaired driver was charged “after attempting to avoid a [RIDE] checkpoint,” according to the Ottawa Police Service.

Officers also charged a separate driver with having cannabis readily available in the vehicle and laid 15 speeding charges against snowmobile drivers, police said in a statement on Monday.

Police said they engaged with 1,280 drivers between March 15 and March 17, some of whom got ticketed for a variety of other infractions. Tickets for an expired vehicle validation (51) and speeding (44) together accounted for about 60 per cent of all tickets issued through this weekend’s RIDE program, according to the police service.

Other infractions included stop sign violations, driving without a licence or with a suspended licence, using a handheld device while driving, not wearing a seatbelt while driving, failing to secure a child or child seat, and failing to yield to a pedestrian or move over for an emergency vehicle.

Police also scaled up their presence and enforcement in the ByWard Market and Sandy Hill neighbourhoods over the weekend, issuing 78 tickets and Liquor Licence Act offences in that time, according to a separate statement from police.

Traffic enforcement in those same two neighbourhoods led to an additional 87 tickets.

“The measured police response has been a major deterrent in disorderly behaviour, vandalism and public intoxication,” Platoon Insp. David Zackrias wrote in the statement. “Most celebrations occurred indoors with minimal to zero impact to the neighbourhood residents. … We want to thank the community and visitors for celebrating responsibly.”

In a separate traffic enforcement blitz on Monday, Ottawa police say they laid 15 speeding charges as students returned to school this morning after the March break.

Police warned ahead of this week that officers would be out monitoring traffic in a number of school zones.

“Drivers should watch their speed, obey school crossing guards, and respect stop signs,” the police service tweeted.

“The safety of children is paramount.”

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