Earlier in November, Ontario police launched the Festive RIDE campaign targeting impaired and drunk drivers over the holiday season. The road safety initiative is led by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and is scheduled to run between November 17 to January 2.
During the Festive Ride campaign, the police will increase their presence on the roads in search of impaired drivers and set up daily checkpoints to carry out roadside spot checks.
“[There’s] a bigger focus around the holidays because of people getting together, having Christmas parties, and we don’t want to have tragedies on our roadways,” said Greater Sudbury Police Sgt. Blair Ramsey, who works with the service’s traffic management unit, in his interview with Sudbury.com.
In addition, Ramsey added that spot checks are important not only for enforcement, but also to remind the public about the dangers of driving while impaired, and that police remain vigilant to prevent impaired driving accidents.
According to Greater Sudbury Police Deputy Chief Sara Cunningham, Sudbury police charged 338 drivers with impaired-related offences in 2021, and with 252 impaired-related offences so far in 2022.
“Road safety remains a top priority for us here in Greater Sudbury, not only for us here at GSPS, but our entire community,” she said. “The tragic and life-altering impacts of impaired driving is something none of us ever want to experience.”
The Safe Ride Home Sudbury program involves volunteers driving individuals home after attending parties. This service partners with Festive RIDE each year, with volunteers participating in spot checks and providing education alongside police.
“I get to see first hand working with the traffic management unit, how committed they are to eliminating impaired driving,” said Safe Ride Home Sudbury founder Lesli Green, adding that GSPS have “given us just a tremendous level of support and the best way to deliver our message and work together in keeping our communities safe.”
During the Festive Ride campaign, drivers are also reminded that the mandatory alcohol screening law allows police with an approved alcohol screening device to demand a roadside breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver without having reasonable suspicion that a driver is alcohol-impaired. As such, designated police officers who have been trained as drug recognition evaluators (DREs) can apply standardized field sobriety testing (SFST) to carry out testing for alcohol and drug consumption.