The OPP is kicking off its Festive RIDE campaign this weekend.
In 2018, 56 people were killed in alcohol- and drug-related collisions on roads patrolled by the OPP.
“Thanks to new impaired driving laws phased in last year, the OPP is heading into the seasonal campaign with enhanced tools and authorities,” reads a media release.
“Under the new law, police officers in possession of an approved screening device who lawfully pull over a driver in a RIDE initiative (or through any other lawful traffic stop) can now demand a breath sample without having reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.”
The OPP has also acquired approved 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,” the media release reads.
Motorists are also being reminded that RIDE checks happen throughout the year, not just the festive season.
“Whether a driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs or both, impaired is impaired – any time of year. Our frontline officers have never been more prepared than they are now to remove these dangerous drivers from our roads,” said OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.
“With festive parties and holiday gatherings just around the corner, plan ahead and don’t drive impaired. It is a serious criminal offence to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and police officers across Ontario have the tools to detect impaired drivers. Please drive responsibly to help keep our roadways safe this holiday season,” added Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
The OPP Festive RIDE Campaign runs from Nov. 23 to Jan. 2, 2020.