It's that time of year again when police and other civil authorities send out the message that impaired driving is just not acceptable any more.
In fact, police are encouraging members of the public to grab a phone and call in when they suspect a driver is impaired.
That was part of the message Nov. 28 during the launch of the annual campaign to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE), especially for the upcoming festive season in Sudbury and other parts of Northeastern Ontario. The launch event was held on Walford Road at the DJ Hancock Memorial Park, a place created in honour of a Sudbury teen who died in 2014 in a crash caused by an impaired driver.
Ontario Provincial Police Const. Rob Lewis of the Sudbury detachment told the gathering that impaired driving in any form is not acceptable yet every year police and other groups speak out against impaired driving.
"But unfortunately there continues to be a need every year to get the message across. That impaired driving is not acceptable. It's a criminal offence. Every year, countless lives are lost from impaired driving, which are all preventable," said Lewis.
He said the OPP RIDE campaign will continue through until Jan. 1, 2024 and the OPP will be vigilant.
"The OPP remains committed to taking impaired driving off our roadways through education and enforcement," said Lewis.
"We'd like to remind the public if you suspect an impaired driver to make the call. Call 911 as impaired driving never ends well and may save a life" he added.
Greater Sudbury Police Service Insp. Mark Burnett said impaired driving is a crime that poses a threat to the community at large.
"Impaired driving, as we all know, poses severe risks to our community. It leads to collisions, injuries and fatalities. It jeopardizes road safety, constrains our emergency services unnecessarily and has grave legal consequences," said Burnett.
In 2022, officers in Greater Sudbury charged 290 drivers with impaired driving, Burnett said. So far in 2023, GSPS officers have laid an additional 268 impaired driving and related charges, he said.
"If you are a community member and you witness an impaired driver, or somebody you suspect of impaired driving, we encourage that person to to come forward and report it through 9-1-1 to the police," said Burnett.
The launch event also heard from partner organizations such as Mothers Against Impaired Driving (MADD), Sudbury Safe Ride Home and the Canadian Blood Services. who congratulated the RIDE program for actively working to keep the community roads safer.
Another part of the event was an actual RIDE check that was carried out on Walford Road so that police officers could interact with members of the public while representatives of the partner organizations were able to distribute literature to the drivers.
Len Gillis covers health care and mining for Sudbury.com.