Impaired driving should be treated as a dangerous crime: OPP

Dec 20, 2022

Earlier in November, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police initiated a seven-week Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign in collaboration with other road safety partners and Ontario residents.

The campaign is focused on keeping alcohol and drug-impaired drivers off the roads, as the police increase the number of its roadside enforcement programs, while raising awareness about the deadly consequences of operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.

“Sadly, 51 people have died on OPP-patrolled roads this year in collisions that involved a driver who consumed alcohol and/or drugs. This ongoing, senseless loss of life is what drives the OPP’s commitment and that of our valued road safety partners to eliminate impaired driving on our roads. If you suspect or witness impaired driving, please treat it like the dangerous crime that it is and immediately report it to the police. Together, we can keep our roads safe during the holidays,” said Thomas Carrique, Commissioner at the Ontario Provincial Police in his interview with The Madawaska Valley Current.

Previously, during the 2021-2022 Festive R.I.D.E. campaign, OPP officers conducted 8,374 R.I.D.E. initiatives, while 1,188 impaired driving charges were laid, and 237 Warn Range Suspensions were issued.

“The launch of the Festive R.I.D.E. campaign serves as a reminder that no one should drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is a serious criminal offence that can have devastating consequences. Police services across the province need everyone’s support to help keep our roads safe, especially during the holiday season. If you’re out with friends and family, have a plan to get home safely and encourage others to do the same,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner.

Currently, impaired driving remains one of the leading criminal causes of death in Canada. In Ontario, impaired driving is defined as operating a vehicle while one’s ability to do so has been compromised to any degree by consuming alcohol and/or drugs, including cannabis, over-the-counter and prescription medications, illicit drugs, and any combination thereof.

Furthermore, if the police determine that an individual was driving while impaired, they can face penalties including immediate licence suspensions, fines and reinstatement fees, enrolment into education or treatment programs, vehicle impoundment, and harsher penalties upon conviction. Penalties can vary depending on the individual’s age, licence type, the amount of alcohol or drugs present in their system, and the previous number of convictions and license suspensions.

“In Ontario, impaired driving is one of the leading causes of death on the roads. Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is dangerous and illegal. As you make plans for the holiday season and year-round, please remember to plan ahead and use public transit, take a taxi or have a designated driver to ensure you arrive home safely. Let’s all do our part to keep our roads safe, and prevent the tragic deaths and devastating injuries caused by impaired driving,” said Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney.