OPP’s annual Festive R.I.D.E. campaign returns this holiday season
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Striving to prevent impaired driving over the holiday season, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are once again conducting their annual Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign.
The OPP Festive R.I.D.E. Campaign runs from November 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
Between robust mandatory alcohol screening laws, vigilant citizens and dedicated officers, the OPP reminds drivers they’ll have plenty to worry about if they choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs over the holidays, according to the OPP’s press release for the annual Festive R.I.D.E. campaign.
Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner, Thomas Carrique, shared in the release, “As Ontarians celebrate this physically distanced holiday season, an important part of staying safe is ensuring you have a solid plan that prevents you and your family from driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The OPP encourages citizens to continue reporting impaired drivers to police. Combined with the dedication of our frontline officers, our collective efforts can significantly help keep you and your loved ones safe on our roads during the holidays and throughout the year.”
The OPP commends the efforts of proactive citizens in doing their part to help keep dangerous drivers off the roads. Ontario Provincial Police shared that they received more than 21,800 calls to report suspected impaired drivers so far this year. Police further informed, “Close to 3,300 such calls were placed during the 2019/20 Festive R.I.D.E. campaign and reflect the ‘zero tolerance’ attitude the OPP encourages everyone to adopt every day.
“Motorists are reminded that officers regularly conduct Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) with drivers who are lawfully pulled over and they will be ramping up this investigative measure, including at R.I.D.E. stops, throughout the campaign.
“Now heading into its third year, under the MAS law, an officer with an approved alcohol screening device can demand a breath sample from any driver without having reasonable suspicion that they have alcohol in their body.”
Officers also have access to drug screening equipment’s to detect cannabis and cocaine in a driver’s saliva.
OPP remind drivers and passengers to adhere to the strictly enforced laws relating to the transportation of cannabis in a motor vehicle.
According to the OPP, Forty two (42) people have died on OPP-patrolled roads so far this year (2020) in collisions that involved an alcohol/drug-impaired driver.
OPP officers conducted more than 8,800 R.I.D.E. stops, charging 605 motorists with impaired driving during the 2019/20 Festive R.I.D.E. campaign.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones stated in the press release, “Impaired driving continues to be the leading criminal cause of death and injury on Ontario’s roads, and these dangers remain a threat to our communities as we continue to face COVID-19 this holiday season. We all want a safe and happy holiday season, and it is important to remind our friends and family to plan ahead and make alternative arrangements to get home safely. The decision to get behind the wheel impaired can be a matter of life and death.”
Impaired drivers can be reported by calling 911.