It's the season of Christmas parties, and with festive spirits about to shift into high gear, police are warning residents that if they choose to get behind the wheel after a night of drinking or taking drugs, they will get caught.
While officers conduct RIDE checks year round, there's an increase during the holidays as people partake in Christmas parties.
Greater Sudbury Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police were joined by volunteers with Action Sudbury, Safe Ride Home Sudbury, MADD Canada and Canadian Blood Services to kick off the Festive RIDE campaign on Nov. 28. The Festive RIDE season begins Dec. 1 and carries through until Dec. 31.
Sgt. Tim Burtt said the focus of the launch is to educate the public on the dangers of drinking and operating a vehicle.
“We're out on a day-to-day basis looking for impaired drivers, and this launch let's put the message out there that we'll be out on the roads looking for those who have too much to drink, get behind the wheel and put themselves and others in danger,” Burtt said.
Too many people feel like they would be OK to drive after having a few drinks, but there are so many other options to get home, Burtt said.
“Why put yourself and others at risk?”
Last week, Greater Sudbury Police laid three impaired charges in a span of six hours. They were first alerted to a crash, where the driver was allegedly impaired and sustained serious injuries. As officers were investigating, two more drivers were arrested, one of whom tried to flee the scene.
“Use common sense and get someone who is sober to drive,” Burtt said. “All it takes is a split second, and you could die or kill someone.
RIDE checks will be happening at all hours of the day, from morning to night, and it's not just limited to roadways, Burtt said. Officers will be out on snowmobile trails, too.
Safe Ride Home Sudbury president and founder Lesli Green was part of the Festive RIDE launch. She said her organization is busy, and in need of more volunteers to get people home safely throughout the holiday season.
“We want to make sure people plan for a safe ride home,” she said. “We're always looking for more volunteers, especially for New Year's Eve, which is always a challenge.”
Volunteer forms can be picked up at any area Tim Hortons location.