WAWA – The annual holiday season battle against impaired driving is underway. Across the province, police services and the OPP have enhanced enforcement to help keep the highways and roadways safer.
The facts speak for themselves. Over the past 15 years (since 2003), 987 people have died in preventable alcohol/drug-related collisions on Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-patrolled roads. Tragically, 464 (47 percent) of the 987 deceased were innocent victims in these crashes, while the other 523 (53 percent) were the at-fault impaired driver.
So far this year, 37 people have died in collisions linked to an alcohol or drug-impaired driver, 19 of whom were innocent victims. Sadly, 2017 marks the fourth consecutive year to see a higher number of innocent people killed than impaired drivers who caused the collision.
The Superior East Detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Festive “Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere” (RIDE) campaign is now in full swing. It starts on November 24, 2017, and runs to January 2, 2018. OPP officers will work around the clock during the campaign, conducting RIDE check stops across North East Region. These enforcement efforts, combined with the help of all citizens, to intervene when they suspect that someone is driving, or about to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs, will prevent innocent lives being lost this holiday season.
Police remind the motoring public to be mindful when approaching a RIDE location. Officer safety is paramount as they are standing in live lanes of traffic. When you see the flashing lights, slow down, proceed with caution, and allow the officers a safe distance from your vehicle.
With this RIDE campaign underway, the OPP is determined to dispel the myth that driving while high on drugs cannot be detected by police and is a safe alternative to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Through the OPP Drug Evaluation and Classification Program, officers are trained as Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRU), giving them the authority and tools needed to detect drug-impaired drivers. A charge of impaired by drug involves all drugs, be it prescription, over-the-counter, and those that are illegal.
Impaired by a drug is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada (CC) and drivers who are charged with that offence are subject to the same penalties as those who are charged with driving while impaired by alcohol.
Should you observe a suspected impaired driver, please dial 911 or contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122.