THUNDER BAY – Crimebeat – The tallies are in for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) 2011-2012 Festive R.I.D.E. campaign and the final number of impaired drivers caught over the holidays came as bittersweet news to the Commissioner of the OPP. “On one hand, I am extremely proud of the hard work on the part of our officers who made this campaign highly-effective in removing these dangerous drivers from our roads over the holidays. On the other hand, I am disappointed that these drivers would risk their lives and the lives of others,” said OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.
The Festive R.I.D.E. campaign got underway on November 25, 2011 and wrapped up on January 1, 2012. During that time, OPP officers removed a total of 1203 impaired drivers off our roads and highways throughout the six Ontario regions that are policed by the OPP. Of this total, 652 were charged with impaired driving and the other 551 were issued immediate Warn Range suspensions for having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) between .05 and .08. In comparison, during the 2010-2011 Festive R.I.D.E. campaign, 308 drivers were charged with impaired driving and 613 were issued Warn Range suspensions.
In Northwestern Ontario the OPP charged 47 people with impaired driving, being over .08, or refusal to submit to a breathalizer. Ten drivers were issued 3, 7, or 30 day suspensions.
In 2011, 47 people died in alcohol-related crashes on OPP-patrolled roads. According to Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division (HSD), drivers shouldn’t let their guard down just because the holiday season is over.
“The results of our Festive R.I.D.E. campaign and the dangers associated with driving impaired have been widely-publicized in the news, yet more than 1200 drivers still chose to ignore our strong messaging and warnings about impaired driving,” says HSD Commander Chief Bell. “For those who feel relieved that our campaign is over, be warned that our regular R.I.D.E. initiatives will continue to be conducted throughout the province year-round so there is no safe haven for impaired drivers anywhere or anytime on Ontario roads,” added Bell.