The Ontario Provincial Police's top cop said he is disappointed with the results of this year's provincewide Festive RIDE campaign.
A total of 693 people were charged with impaired driving — the highest it has been since 2005, said the OPP. Furthermore, officers also issued a total of 625 licence suspensions to drivers whose blood-alcohol content was in the warning range of between 0.05 and 0.08.
That marks a slight increase over last year's numbers. In 2011, the Festive RIDE campaign resulted in 682 drivers being charged with impaired, and 583 licence suspensions for drivers being in the warning range.
There is no excuse for the number of impaired drivers being on the rise and it is a simple matter of people continuing to make bad decisions that impact public safety over the holidays, said the OPP.
“We had hoped to see these numbers decrease significantly during this year's campaign, in light of how much harder we have worked to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving,” said OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis. “Impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and it is disappointing that we still have Ontario drivers who feel entitled to place other road users at risk.”
This year's Festive RIDE campaign was conducted from Nov. 24, 2012 to Jan. 2, 2013. Spot checks were set up around the clock throughout the province.
“In light of these Festive RIDE statistics, we will be as committed as ever in 2013 to incorporating the high visibility, professional traffic stops, public education and measurable outcomes supported by our Provincial Traffic Safety Program, in our ongoing effort to reduce impaired driving on Ontario roads,” said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division.
That being said, the OPP reminds the public that they will continue to conduct RIDE stops throughout the year on Ontario roads.