ROCKWOOD – Wellington County OPP and Guelph Police Service officials gathered for a joint media event on Nov. 16 to officially launch the 2023-24 Festive RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign.
The campaign promotes traffic enforcement while raising awareness of the dangers of impaired driving.
“Impairments [are] going to affect your driving,” said OPP media relations officer Josh Cunningham.
“Whether it’s impaired by cannabis, alcohol which is a drug, prescription drugs, illicit or illegal drugs, even sleep deprivation at level of impairment; it makes things risky.”
Impaired driving caused by drugs or alcohol continues to be the most common factor in serious road accidents in Canada.
RIDE spot checks are there to assist with enforcement, but also give a visual reminder to drivers to not get behind the wheel while impaired.
“The punishments for driving impaired can be quite impactful,” Cunningham said, listing examples such as lawyer fees, tow fees, insurance fees and personal reputation.
“These are in some ways, door prizes to the big prize which would be hurting yourself or someone you care about or someone else in the community. These are all real consequences.”
According to a Wellington OPP media advisory, there have been four impaired driving fatalities in Wellington County and over 120 impaired driving charges laid thus far in 2023.
In 2022, Guelph police laid 249 criminal impaired driving charges related to 231 incidents. As of Nov. 16, 200 charges have been laid related to 173 incidents.
“The number of charges [in 2023] are slightly ahead [of 2022], I think about six or seven charges ahead of where we were at this point last year,” said Guelph Police media relations coordinator Scott Tracey.
“That’s very concerning.”
The Festive RIDE campaign, which runs annually from mid-November until early January, is led by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
Motorists can expect to see an increased number of RIDE spot checks during this time period.
If you suspect an impaired driver, dial 911.