Drivers should be ready to see more police on the roads as the annual Festive RIDE program begins next month.
As the holiday season leads to an increase in not only travel but also the use of alcohol and other impairment substances, OPP will be out to test and remove any impaired drivers from the road.
Allen Magee, branch president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Quinte, says that these programs provide a dramatic decrease in not only the number of impaired drivers, but also the ones who would otherwise choose to drive.
“When people know they can be stopped at any time and automatically be tested, it makes them think twice about getting behind the wheel,” said Magee.
Constable Artur Witkowski with Quinte West OPP said his branch of the OPP will be starting Festive RIDE stops in December, though they test for impaired driving habitually.
“Drivers are 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,” he explained.
He also said drivers need to plan ahead before getting on the road:
“If you plan on drinking or consuming drugs, plan to not drive. Instead, arrange for a designated driver, take a taxi or public transit, or come up with another plan that takes impaired driving out of the picture.”
Both MADD Quinte and the OPP said that everyone can help keep the roads clear by making safe choices and letting police know if they suspect someone of impaired driving.
“During the campaign, the motoring public can expect to see an increased OPP presence as officers conduct RIDE initiatives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the province,” said Witkowski. “If you know or suspect that a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, call 9-1-1. In doing so, you may save a life.”