THUNDER BAY – Crimebeat – It is that time of the year. As the holiday season draws near, people want to enjoy the company of family and friends, and of course business associates. Often that festive fun includes alcohol. Getting home safely can then become an issue.
Sadly there are still many people who, after a few drinks end up deciding to drive home. Impaired driving is a public safety problem year-round but sadly the threat only worsens during the holidays according to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
The OPP is conducting its annual Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign from November 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012 and is reminding motorists that province-wide R.I.D.E. stops will be highly-visible throughout the holiday season.
During last year’s R.I.D.E. campaign (2010-2011), the OPP laid 308 impaired driving charges and issued 903 Warn Range and Administrative Driver’s License Suspensions.
Impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of criminal death in Canada. As of mid-November (2011), 40 people have died in alcohol-related collisions on OPP-patrolled roads and highways compared to 75 this same time last year (2010). While the number is down significantly this year, even one alcohol-related death is one too many and motorists need to be more proactive in eliminating these preventable fatalities altogether according to the OPP.
“Year after year, our Festive R.I.D.E. campaign proves effective in taking impaired drivers off our roads. If you’re drinking, come up with a plan that involves not driving such as taking a cab, a bus or have a designated driver. Don’t drink and drive, don’t let those who are drinking drive and be sure to report those who do”. – C/Supt. Don Bell, Commander, OPP Highway Safety Division.
Thinking of refusing a breath test?
Think again. Motorists who refuse a breath test will be charged with a criminal code offence and immediately have their driver’s license suspended for 90 days.
Think you can have a few drinks and be sure you’ll blow under the legal limit?
Think again. Drivers who blow in the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) “Warn Range” of .05 to .08 pose a danger to themselves and other road users. If caught driving in the warn range, you will receive an immediate 3-day driver’s licence suspension at the roadside and the suspension period increases with subsequent offences to 7 then 30 days.
Think your family and friends won’t report a loved one or other driver who takes to the wheel while impaired?
Think again. The last thing people want to deal with over the holidays is the devastation of losing a loved one to an impaired driver. The OPP is asking Ontarians to help them crack down on impaired drivers this holiday season. If you suspect an impaired driver, you call 9-1-1. Of course if you are driving please be careful only to use your hands-free cell phone or have a passenger make the call for you.