SAULT STE. MARIE -- New statistics from the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service show impaired driving is soaring in the city.

From March 13-June 3, a total of 33 impaired driving charges have been laid, in comparison to 25 during the same time in 2019. That's an increase of 32 per cent.

"You're really seeing that worrying trend across smaller communities in the country right now," said Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD Canada.

"Impaired driving is down in most urban centres due to the pandemic, but I'm not sure why we're seeing these types of increases for cities like the Sault."

Murie says the decrease in densely populated cities like Toronto comes down to bars and restaurants being closed. However, he says stunt driving has been increasing in those areas, with fewer people on the roadways.

"You typically see impaired driving happening at later hours in the evening, on the weekends, after returning home from the bar," he said. "Obviously with COVID-19, that's not the case, people have nowhere to go."

Murie said it's possible communities like Sault Ste. Marie have less fear of COVID-19, due to a lower number of cases.

"Some of these cities go weeks without seeing a case and have been limited to around 20," he said. "I'm not to sure how much it deals with the pandemic, but It's possible that in these communities, they feel that they can socialize because of it."