If you drink, don’t drive. That’s the message the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is hammering home this festive season.
On Nov. 24, the OPP kicked off its Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign. Until Jan. 2, motorists can expect to see an increased number of R.I.D.E. stops.
So far this year, 61 individuals have died in alcohol-related motor vehicle collisions on provincial police patrolled roads – a 17 per cent increase over the number of impaired driving fatalities in 2011.
During last year’s Festive R.I.D.E. campaign, OPP officers charged more than 680 motorists with impaired driving and issued a Warn Range suspension to 583 drivers, who registered a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08.
“The number of charges we laid is more than double when compared to the 308 drivers we charged with impaired driving during the 2010/2011 campaign, and as such, people can expect to see us ramp up our enforcement over the holidays to put a stop to this life-threatening driving behaviour,” said OPP Highway Safety Division’s Commander, chief superintendent, Don Bell.
“Clearly, our officers are doing their part to remove impaired drivers from our roads during the holidays, but it takes a collective public effort to ensure that no driver gets away with driving impaired,” added the chief superintendent.
As a result, the OPP encourages motorists to call 9-1-1 if they suspect an impaired driver is on the road.
“It’s simple, if you plan on drinking, do not plan to drive,” said Bell.