Festive RIDE campaign underway


The annual Festive RIDE campaign is now officially underway.

Expect to see multiple checkpoints as the OPP kicked off the campaign on Monday. There will be a significant number of RIDE checkpoints throughout the province until Jan. 7, 2017.

The OPP said that in 2015, they investigated 65 road collisions in which a drug-impaired driver was found to be the primary cause of the crash. So far in 2016, the same factor has been behind 59 such collisions on OPP-patrolled roads. Tragically, 35 people have died this year so far in alcohol or drug-related crashes, which puts the total number of road deaths in this causal category nearly 650 in the last decade.

Police are determined to dispel the myth that driving while high on drugs can't be detected by police, and is a safe alternative to driving while under the influence of alcohol. Through OPP Drug Evaluation and Classification programs, officers are trained as Drug Recognition Evaluators, which gives them the authority and tools needed to detect drug-impaired drivers. In coming weeks, the OPP hopes to conduct a successful campaign in which every single driver they pull over is a sober, drug-free driver.

"The solution to ending impaired-related road deaths is a simple one," said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander Traffic Safety and Operational Support. "Never drive if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, and know you are doing the right thing by calling 9-1-1 to report an impaired driver. By working together, we can positively influence driver behaviour in an effort to make sober, drug-free driving a social norm during the holidays, and throughout the year."

"Arrange for a designated driver and if you see someone you think is impaired, arrange a ride for them or suggest alternate arrangements," said David Orazietti, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. "These simple steps can go a long way to keeping our families, friends and roads safe every day of the year."