The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reporting that drivers are still not getting the message about drinking and driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
During the OPP’s Festive RIDE program that began on November 23 and wrapped up on January 2, the OPP laid 573 charges of impaired driving in Ontario. Locally, there were 68 RIDE events in the Huntsville area that resulted in seven charges and four people being issued a three-, seven- or 30-day suspension for being in the warn range. That’s up from three charges and two people in the warn range in 39 RIDE events during the 2014 holiday season.
Within the OPP’s Central Region which includes all of Muskoka, there were 128 charges and 103 people who fell within the warn range, up slightly from 2014’s 127 charges and 95 in the warn range.
Police say the sobering fact is that impaired driving is still considered a huge threat to public safety.
“Despite the high number of charges again this year, it is difficult to understand why people still choose to drink or use drugs, and then get behind the wheel to drive. These statistics are alarming, and we intend to keep the pressure on drivers who refuse to consider an alternative way to get to their destination. The annual Festive RIDE program may be over, but I can assure you that OPP officers will remain diligent with their focus on impaired drivers by conducting RIDE stops in various random locations every day across this province,” said Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety & Operational Support.
In 2015, the OPP laid more than 6000 alcohol and drug impaired driving charges. The OPP is reminding the public that some officers now have specialized training to identify drug impaired drivers. Police will continue their efforts to raise awareness about the dangers associated with impaired driving.