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OPP launches Festive R.I.D.E. Campaign this week

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Between robust mandatory alcohol screening laws, vigilant citizens and dedicated officers, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reminds drivers they'll have plenty to worry about if they choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs over the holidays.

The OPP's Festive R.I.D.E. campaign kicks off this week and runs until January 3, 2021.

With more than 21,800 calls to the OPP to report suspected impaired drivers so far this year (2020), the OPP is praising these proactive citizens for doing their part to help keep these dangerous drivers off our roads. Close to 3,300 such calls were placed during the 2019/20 Festive R.I.D.E. campaign and reflect the 'zero tolerance' attitude the OPP encourages everyone to adopt every day. 

Motorists are reminded that officers regularly conduct Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) with drivers who are lawfully pulled over and they will be ramping up this investigative measure, including at R.I.D.E. stops, throughout the campaign.

Now heading into its third year, under the MAS law, an officer with an approved alcohol screening device can demand a breath sample from any driver without having reasonable suspicion that they have alcohol in their body.

Drug screening equipment that detects cannabis (and cocaine) in a driver's saliva is another important resource officers have at their disposal. These devices are used to enforce the provincial "zero tolerance" sanctions that apply to young, novice and commercial drivers who are suspected of having the presence of drugs in their body. 

Under impaired driving laws, the OPP can also demand that a driver 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.  

 "As Ontarians celebrate this physically distanced holiday season, an important part of staying safe is ensuring you have a solid plan that prevents you and your family from driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The OPP encourages citizens to continue reporting impaired drivers to police. Combined with the dedication of our frontline officers, our collective efforts can significantly help keep you and your loved ones safe on our roads during the holidays and throughout the year." -- Thomas CARRIQUE, Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner

"Impaired driving continues to be the leading criminal cause of death and injury on Ontario's roads, and these dangers remain a threat to our communities as we continue to face COVID-19 this holiday season. We all want a safe and happy holiday season, and it is important to remind our friends and family to plan ahead and make alternative arrangements to get home safely. The decision to get behind the wheel impaired can be a matter of life and death." -- Solicitor General Sylvia JONES  

Drivers and passengers are reminded to adhere to strictly-enforced laws relating to the transportation of cannabis in a motor vehicle.

QUICK FACTS

Forty two (42) people have died on OPP-patrolled roads so far this year (2020) in collisions that involved an alcohol/drug-impaired driver.

OPP officers conducted more than 8,800 R.I.D.E. stops, charging 605 motorists with impaired driving during the 2019/20 Festive R.I.D.E. campaign.

The OPP Festive RIDE Campaign runs from November 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

Warning to ATV drivers

(ATIKOKAN, ON) Due to the increase number of All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Off Road Vehicles/Side by Sides (ORV) at this time of year, Members of the Atikokan Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reminding ATV/ORV operators of the requirements to operate these in Ontario. The OPP are also asking the public to partner with them to reduce the rising number of ATV/ORV incidents.

Alcohol use continues to be a factor in fatal ATV/ORV incidents in OPP jurisdictions. Operators are reminded that operating and ATV/ORV on or off a roadway while impaired carries the same penalties as operating a motor vehicle.

Ensure that you are aware of the requirements to operate an ATV/ORV:

  • For off-road driving, the owner of the ATV/ORV must ensure the driver is at least 12 years of age, unless they are on land occupied by the ATV/ORV owner or under the close supervision of an adult

  • To drive on or even cross a roadway the operator must be 16 years of age and hold a minimum class G2/M2 driver's licence

  • Must wear an approved motorcycle helmet that is securely fastened under the chin with a chin strap at all times

  • Must have valid insurance and registration if not on private property

  • Must operate in the same direction of traffic on the shoulder if on a public roadway

  • On a roadway if speed limits 50 km/h- you cannot exceed 20 km, if speed limits exceed 50 km/h- you cannot exceed 50 km/hr

  • Vehicles commonly known as side by sides, are now permitted on the shoulder of public roads, and must obey the same speed limits listed above

  • A golf cart is not an approved vehicle under the Highway Traffic Act or the Off Road Vehicles Act. It may only be used on private property.

For more information on ATV/ORV safety or legal requirements, visit www.ontario.ca/atv and www.e-laws.gov.on.ca

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