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OPP remove over 500 impaired drivers from roads during holidays

File photo by First Response Media.

As a result of the annual Festive RIDE campaign conducted by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), 539 alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers were removed from roads in the province this holiday season.

The OPP’s Festive RIDE campaign took place between Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 and Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. On top of the 539 impaired drivers that were arrested and charged, an additional 384 drivers were issued ‘Warn Range Suspensions’ for having a blood alcohol concentration in the 0.05 and 0.08 range. Those drivers issued ‘Warn Range Suspensions’ receive an immediate driver’s licence suspension for at least three days, as well as fine (if it’s the driver’s second occurrence of being issued a ‘Warn Range Suspension,’ their licence is suspended for seven days, and penalties and sanctions are substantially increase for subsequent occurrences).

Across Ontario, officers conducted a total of 10,270 RIDE stop events, exceeding the 10,000 stop mark for the first time ever.

“I am extremely proud of our officers for their commitment to keeping our roads safe over the holidays,” said OPP Interim Commissioner Gary Couture.

“Whether drivers were charged with alcohol-impaired driving, drug-impaired driving or issued Warn Range Suspensions, the bottom line is that our officers took close to 923 impaired drivers off our roads and eliminated the threat they posed to those who were sharing the road with them that day.”

Here in the Eastern Region, OPP Officers conducted over 2,700 Festive RIDE programs, resulting in 105 drivers charged and removed from the roads. Of those, 97 drivers were charged with being impaired by alcohol, and eight were charged with being impaired by drugs. Additionally, 68 drivers were issued ‘Warn Range Suspensions.’

“One impaired driver is too many,” said Chief Superintendent Chris Harkins, Commander of the OPP’s East Region.

“It’s very disappointing to see that so many people are making bad choices to drive after consuming drugs or alcohol.”

Sadly, 42 alcohol/drug-related road deaths occurred on OPP-patrolled roads in 2018.

The OPP is reminding drivers that, as of Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, police can demand a roadside breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver without first having to suspect the motorist has been drinking. Under the new legislation, drivers impaired by alcohol now also face higher mandatory minimum fines and some higher maximum penalties.

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