Wellington County councillors acknowledged the efforts of a team of OPP officers to reduce impaired driving at their Jan. 31 meeting.
Councillor Ray Tout, vice chairman of the police services board, introduced constables Jody Bigger, Frank Thornton and Henry Van Dyk, who established a RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) team that operated throughout the county during the Christmas season.
Tout noted the three officers approached OPP command staff in November with the idea of creating a separate RIDE team to augment regular RIDE programs undertaken by the force. The plan was approved.
“The officers worked from 4pm to 4am every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, making personal sacrifices away from their families to ensure success,” Tout said.
“They were accompanied by officers working their normal shift rotation whenever possible. The officers’ primary focus was impaired drivers, although many traffic and drug offences were also detected.”
In a six-week period, the team stopped 10,785 vehicles at locations throughout the county. As a result, 25 impaired charges were laid along with 21 drug charges, 12 Criminal Code charges, 53 three-day licence suspensions and four, seven-day suspensions, 14 liquor charges and 132 Highway Traffic Act charges.
“A whopping 441 breath tests, meaning that one in every 24 drivers had been drinking where a roadside breath test was warranted,” Tout said.
“These numbers had Wellington County OPP leading the entire province for drinking and driving enforcement efforts. Excellent, yet somewhat alarming statistics.”
Tout added, “Although the results achieved throughout the Festive RIDE campaign illustrate the effectiveness of the RIDE program, much work is yet to be done.
“Wellington County OPP, under the leadership of the detachment commander (Scott Lawson) will continue to dedicate their efforts to seek-out impaired drivers.”