It's been nearly two years since Sudbury police started publically naming those charged with drinking and driving, but they say it's hard to track how effective the practice has been as a deterrent.

Deputy Chief Al Lekun said the threat of releasing names of those who’ve been caught while driving impaired hasn’t made the situation any worse. While the numbers have dropped, it's hard to attribute that to one specific strategy, he noted.

"When you look at the combined strategy of enforcement ... I know our five-year trend shows a downward trend," he said.

Police post the names on their website in a press release that can be accessed for a month.

Media outlets individually decide whether or not to publish the names. Some citizen groups that campaign against drinking and driving — like Action Sudbury — release the names on Twitter and Facebook.

'Community effort'

The chairman of the group that first recommended the police release names said one of the goals of the program is to encourage people in the community to help police.

Ron Roy said once a name is public, a neighbour can report someone who is driving with a suspended licence.

"It’s not just the police's responsibility to stop impaired driving," he said. "It's got to be a community effort."

Lekun says police have launched education campaigns and increased the number of ride checks.

And now Action Sudbury has plans to make available designated driver cards that may also help those who have been drinking to think twice before deciding to drive. The wallet-sized card would be signed by a friend who would agree to pick up the driver with no questions asked.

"And the person who is drinking has got this card in his wallet and when he gets in this situation it gives him an option or an out," Roy said