AURORA, ON, Nov. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Provincial Police will be out in force during the 2014 holiday season to prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries by encouraging all motorists to drive responsibly. The Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign will begin on November 24 and run until January 2, 2015.
While the number of irresponsible motorists who continue to drive while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol is small, the carnage and harm they can cause is impossible to calculate. The OPP is calling on everyone to never drive impaired and to discourage others from doing so. If someone you encounter insists on driving impaired, call 911 so the police service of jurisdiction can take the driver off the road before someone is harmed.
"The OPP goal is to get through the holiday season without losing a single life to impaired driving. We will use a combination of public education and focussed enforcement to drive home the message that impaired driving on Ontario roads is never acceptable," said OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes.
The OPP is also reminding the public that driving while impaired by drugs other than alcohol is equally dangerous and against the law. OPP Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) will be working over the holiday season to remove these irresponsible drivers from the road as well.
OPP officers have seen a worrisome increase in the number of drivers being charged with driving impaired by drugs other than alcohol. While the equipment that tests your Blood Alcohol Concentration through a breath sample will not detect these other drugs, officers can detect drug use and will charge offenders. None of this will be necessary if everyone uses a designated driver or public transportation so everyone can enjoy the holiday season safely.
In 2014 up to the end of September, 5,685 impaired charges have been laid by the OPP. Encouragingly, this is down 17 percent from the same period in 2013 which saw 6,842 impaired charges laid. However, for the same period, there was a 32 percent increase in 2014 in the number of drug impaired driving occurrences compared to 2013.
The OPP is also reminding drivers that there is no safe amount of alcohol consumption when driving. This is evident every year in the number of Warn Range Suspensions the OPP issues to drivers whose Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) falls within the 0.05 to 0.08 range. Those who are issued a Warn Range Suspension immediately lose their licence at the roadside and are not allowed to drive from that point on for a minimum of three days.
The OPP is asking the public to join in on the conversation on Facebook during the campaign. Share your thoughts, stories and personal experiences with impaired drivers/driving, as well as any positive stories about people you encounter over the holidays whose actions and decisions about drinking and driving contribute to a safe holiday season on our roads.
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information: Contacts by OPP Region: Highway Safety Division: Sergeant Kerry Schmidt, Phone: (416) 460-4701; Central Region: Sergeant Kelly Daniels, Phone: (705) 330-3738; East Region: Sergeant Kristine Rae, Phone: (613) 285-2750; Northwest Region: Sergeant Shelley Garr, Phone: (807) 473-2734; North East Region: Sergeant Carolle Dionne, Phone: (705) 845-2738; West Region: Sergeant Dave Rektor, Phone: (519) 652-4156