As the holiday season approaches, Ontario police officers are reminding the public to stay safe and be smart in the months ahead.
Today, the OPP is kicking off its annual Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign in an attempt to reduce impaired drivers over the holidays. The initiative runs until January 2nd.
According to a statement from the OPP, the holiday season brings an increase in the number of alcohol impaired drivers on Ontario roadways.
“From January to October, the numbers of alcohol involved occurrences are up 3 percent over the same period last year. As of November 15th, of the 258 persons killed during that time period, 35 fatalities were attributed to alcohol consumption. Thirteen people died when their off-road vehicle was involved in a collision; 6 of those persons had been impaired by alcohol.”
Officers have also seen the number of Drug Impaired Driving increase in Ontario over the past year. OPP now have Drug Recognition officers with specialized training to identify drug impaired drivers. The OPP also have a significant number of officers who conduct standardized field sobriety tests on drivers who give police a reasonable suspicion of impairment by drugs or alcohol.
Brad Blair, Deputy Commissioner, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety & Operational Support says so far this year, OPP have laid over 68,00 alcohol and drug impaired driving charges.
Last year, 593 people were charged with impaired-related charges during the Festive RIDE initiative. 485 people also had their licenses suspended following a warning.
Police are also reminding the public to call the authorities if you see someone who gets behind the wheel after they have been drinking.