Another holiday season is in the bag, and with it came and went another year of the Ontario Provincial Police’s Festive RIDE program, where officers conducted intensive roadside screenings for people driving after having a few drinks.
The program ran from Nov. 23 through to Jan. 2, and over the course of those weeks, police laid 573 impaired driving charges across the province.
Police also report that just over 350 people who had their licenses suspended following a roadside warning during the annual safety initiative that saw police officers checking vehicles at roadside stops, while checking for alcohol and drug impaired drivers.
Recent statistics do indicate that the percentage of people charged with impaired driving is down slightly during the Festive RIDE program this year compared to last year, but police say the sobering fact is that impaired driving is still considered a huge threat to public safety.
“Despite the high number of charges again this year, it is difficult to understand why people still choose to drink or use drugs, and then get behind the wheel to drive. These statistics are alarming, and we intend to keep the pressure on drivers who refuse to consider an alternative way to get to their destination. The annual Festive RIDE program may be over, but I can assure you that OPP officers will remain diligent with their focus on impaired drivers by conducting RIDE stops in various random locations every day across this province,” said Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety & Operational Support
In 2015, the OPP laid over 6,000 alcohol and drug impaired driving charges.