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OPP launches Festive RIDE campaign with new rules, tools

Sgt. John Hatch, detachment commander of the Prince Edward County OPP gives the thumbs up to local Tim Hortons owner Paul Massey during a previous launch of the Festive R.I.D.E. program. Massey, as would be expected, was drinking coffee. This year’s campaign launches Saturday.

Ontario Provincial Police have enhanced tools and authorities as they prepare to launch this year’s Festive RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign this weekend.

Prince Edward OPP join police services across the province taking part in holiday RIDE programs aimed at taking alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers off roads.

The the new impaired driving laws phased in last year, officers in possession of an approved screening device can now demand a breath sample without having reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.

The OPP has also acquired drug screening equipment which can detect cannabis and cocaine in a driver’s saliva. The device can be used to enforce the provincial “zero tolerance” sanctions that now apply to young, novice and commercial drivers who are suspected of having the presence of drugs in their body.

Motorists are reminded that officers can demand a driver to submit to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evaluation. SFST-trained officers and DREs have the expertise to detect impairment by alcohol, drugs or both in a driver.

Motorists are also reminded that RIDE checks happen throughout the year, not just the festive season.

With festive parties and holiday gatherings beginning, Prince Edward OPP remind motorists to plan ahead to keep roadways safe this holiday season.

In 2018, 56 people were killed in alcohol/drug-related collisions on OPP-patrolled roads.

Close to 600 people have died on OPP-patrolled roads in the past 10 years in collisions that involved an alcohol or drug-impaired driver.

Every day, on average, four Canadians are killed and 175 are injured in impairment-related crashes.

The OPP Festive RIDE campaign runs from Nov. 23 to Jan. 2.

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