Festive RIDE campaign underway

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News

You know better than to drink and drive.

But just in case you have a momentary lapse in judgement, remember that police are now out in full force as the 2015 Festive RIDE campaign is officially underway.

The OPP has already been out in numbers to kick off the initiative, which officially began on Sunday. The Festive RIDE campaign will see police setting up traffic stops at various roads in the province around the clock until Jan. 2, 2016.

From January to October, the numbers of alcohol-involved occurrences are up three per cent over the same time period last year. As of Nov. 15, of the 258 people killed, 35 were attributed to alcohol consumption. Thirteen people died when their ATV was involved in a collision, and another six of those people were impaired by alcohol.

Police have also seen the number of occurrences of drug-impaired driving rise in Ontario in the past year. Police remind the public that the OPP now has Drug Recognition officers with specialized training to identify drug-impaired drivers. The OPP also has a significant number of officers who conduct field sobriety tests on drivers who give police a reasonable suspicion of being impaired by drugs.

"So far this year, the OPP has laid more than 6,800 alcohol and drug impaired driving charges. This is an unbelievable statistic," said Brad Blair, Deputy Commissioner, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.

"There are many ways to get home after a party. Don't drink or do drugs and drive - it's just not worth it. I encourage everyone to have a plan to get home before they get behind the wheel this holiday season. Officers will be vigilant about stopping vehicles and finding drivers who are impaired by any means."

Last year, police charged 593 people with impaired-related charges during the Festive RIDE campaign. There were another 485 people who had their licences suspended following a warning.

Police also ask the public to call the authorities if they see somebody getting behind the wheel after they have been drinking.