THUNDER BAY – Across Ontario this holiday season, the message of driving sober appears to have not got through to drivers. Across Ontario, over 900 drivers were taken off the road this holiday season due to alcohol consumption. 573 drivers were charged criminally with alcohol related offences and another 350 drivers received roadside suspensions for alcohol use.
The percentage of people who were charged with impaired driving was down slightly during the Festive RIDE Program for the 2015-16 period. However the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are concerned that too many drivers are still not getting the message about drinking and driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
But the Ontario Provincial Police say the sobering fact is that impaired driving is still considered a major problem.
Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety & Operational Support reports, “Despite the high number of charges again this year, it is difficult to understand why people still choose to drink or use drugs, and then get behind the wheel to drive.
These statistics are alarming, and we intend to keep the pressure on drivers who refuse to consider an alternative way to get to their destination. The annual Festive RIDE program may be over, but I can assure you that OPP officers will remain diligent with their focus on impaired drivers by conducting RIDE stops in various random locations every day across this province.”
Recent statistics do indicate that the percentage of people charged with impaired driving is down slightly during the Festive RIDE program this year compared to last year, but police say the sobering fact is that impaired driving is still considered a huge threat to public safety.
In 2015, the OPP laid over 6000 alcohol and drug impaired driving charges. The OPP is reminding the public that some officers now have specialized training to identify drug impaired drivers. Police will continue their efforts to raise awareness about the dangers associated with impaired driving.