Despite continued warnings that the OPP would be as visible as ever during their Festive RIDE campaign, the number of motorists charged with impaired driving over the holidays was the highest it has been since 2005.
This year’s campaign was conducted from Nov. 24 to Jan. 2, with RIDE checks set up around the clock throughout the province.
Over the five and-a-half week campaign, OPP officers charged 693 persons with having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 (or over 80 milligrams).
Officers also issued a total of 625 warn range suspensions to motorists caught driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 (or between 50 and 80 milligrams).
During last year’s campaign (2011-12), OPP officers charged 682 motorists with impaired driving and issued a warn range suspension to 583 drivers.
According to the OPP, there is no excuse for the number of impaired drivers being on the rise and it is a simple matter of people continuing to make bad decisions that impact public safety over the holidays.
“We had hoped to see these numbers decrease significantly during this year’s campaign, in light of how much harder we have worked to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving,” said OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.
“Impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and it is disappointing that we still have Ontario drivers who feel entitled to place other road users at risk of losing their lives to an impaired driver.”
Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Divison, said, “In light of these Festive RIDE statistics, we will be as committed as ever in 2013 to incorporating the high visibility, professional traffic stops, public education and measurable outcomes supported by our Provincial Traffic Safety Program, in our ongoing effort to reduce impaired driving on Ontario roads.”
The OPP is reminding the public that they will continue to conduct RIDE stops throughout the year on Ontario roads.
The OPP would also like to thank and recognize Ontario drivers who kept everyone safe over the holidays by driving sober, as well as those who arranged for designated drivers and made alternate arrangements for getting home during their holiday celebrations.