Ontario Police Launch Holiday R.I.D.E. Blitz
Ontario Provincial Police have kicked off their annual five-week holiday RIDE program on Ontario highways and roads.
Here's a little trivia: The R.I.D.E. program was first started in 1977, and originally stood for "Reduce Impaired Driving In Etobicoke". It prompted the first officially recorded statistics in Ontario on fatal crashes involving alcohol. R.I.D.E. also lead to the first educational materials about drinking and driving, as well as the Designated Driver program. It has expanded province-wide and now officially stands for "Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere."
Everybody hates the R.I.D.E. program. But remember, the next time you get stopped, that it WORKS. It is making our communities a safer place and encouraging most drinkers to have designated drivers or take cabs when out and about, and it's now become a way of life for our newer drivers. In Ontario, the number of serious injuries from drinking and driving collisions dropped 51 per cent from 1996 to 2005.
Planning to hit the holiday party circuit this year? Toronto Police have a sobering message for you.
They launched their Festive R.I.D.E. program Friday morning to remind drivers of their increased presence on the roads in the coming weeks. They'll be looking out for partygoers who get behind the wheel of a car after drinking or taking drugs.
"Impaired driving by alcohol or drug continues to be significant threat to public safety," stressed Superintendent Earl Witty.
"Those who choose to endanger themselves and others must be dealt with in a vigilant and decisive manner. R.I.D.E. is a tool to help remind people to make the right choice and not drive impaired. It also provides a reactive and immediate response for those who threaten the safety of each and every one of us."
So far this year, there have been 1,631 charges laid for drunk driving, nine for drugs, and five people have been killed in collisions where alcohol was a contributing factor.
Toronto Police run the R.I.D.E. program year-round, enhancing it during holidays and special events.
Other police forces taking part in the program are Niagara, Durham, Halton, Peel, Hamilton and York and the O.P.P.
If you spot a driver you suspect is impaired, call 911 immediately.