le Mardi 16 août 2022
le Jeudi 3 Décembre 2020 16:40 Autres - Others

Stay sober behind the wheel

Police will be on the watch for drinking drivers and other offenders during their annual Christmas CounterAttack campaign. — file photo
Police will be on the watch for drinking drivers and other offenders during their annual Christmas CounterAttack campaign.
file photo
Police will ramp up spot checks to ensure motorists are keeping sober during the silly season.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) launched the festive season Reduced Impaired Driving Everywhere, or RIDE, campaign last Thursday.

Between now and January 3, police will boost the number of mandatory alcohol screening tests on drivers.

Under the law, police can demand a breath sample from any driver, regardless of whether or not they reasonably suspect the motorist has alcohol in their system. Drug screening equipment that can detect cannabis and cocaine in a driver’s saliva will also be used during the campaign.

Forty-two people have died so far this year on OPP-patrolled roads in crashes linked to impaired driving. Last year’s holiday season campaign led to 605 charges across the province.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique asked drivers to stay safe over the holidays, especially in treacherous conditions.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Those with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 or higher, or who fails a roadside sobriety test faced a three-day license suspension and a $250 fine for first offences, as well as a $281 license reinstatement fee. The same penalties applied to drivers under 21, novice or commercial drivers with any trace of alcohol in their system.

Anyone who refused a drug or alcohol test, had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or were found to be impaired by a drug recognition evaluator faced a 90-day license suspension, seven-day vehicle impoundment, and $550 fine. Harsher penalties were imposed for repeated offenders.

“The decision to get behind the wheel impaired can be a matter of life and death,” Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said. “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.”