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Festive R.I.D.E. underway

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The OPP began its annual Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign at 12:01 a.m. this morning.

The province-wide campaign continues until Jan. 2.

With the holiday season fast approaching, the OPP reminds motorists of the danger of mixing alcohol or drugs with driving.

“Impaired driving continues to be the leading criminal cause of death in Canada,” OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino said.

“OPP officers will be out on the highways during the campaign conducting spot checks in an effort to remove the threat of the impaired driver, and make the roads in Ontario safe,” he noted.

“Our government contributes annually to the R.I.D.E. campaign because it’s the right thing to do,” said Community Safety and Correctional Services minister Rick Bartolucci.

“We are steadfast in our determination to ensure our police partners have the resources needed to keep our roads safe, particularly during the festive season, so that a night of holiday fun does not turn into a night of tragedy,” he pledged.

Last year during the five-week Festive R.I.D.E. initiative, OPP officers stopped 861,587 vehicles at roadside checkpoints. As a result, 342 persons were charged with Criminal Code alcohol-related offences and issued 869 12-hour suspensions.

In addition, officers issued 375 90-day Administrative Driver’s Licence Suspensions.

“Ontario roads are among the safest in North America,” said Chief Superintendent Bill Grodzinski, commander of the OPP’s Highway Safety Division. “But we are working hard every day to make them even safer.

“The R.I.D.E. program has proved to be an effective deterrent and important tool to educate the driving public about the dangers of impaired driving,” he added.

“The tragic loss of life as a result of an irresponsible person drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and driving must stop,” Fantino stressed.

“OPP officers will be out there doing their part to remove impaired drivers from our roadways, so please do your part by not drinking and driving.”

Officers also will be on the lookout for aggressive drivers, those speeding, people not using seatbelts, and those who fail to slow down or move over when passing an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road with its emergency lights activated.

Have a safe, happy, and sober festive season!

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