With the holidays just weeks away, police have their festive RIDE program in full swing. Police services across the province take part in holiday RIDE programs aimed at taking alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers off our roads.
Thanks to new impaired driving laws phased in last year, police report they are heading into the seasonal campaign with enhanced tools and authorities. Under the new law, police officers in possession of an approved screening device who lawfully pull over a driver in a RIDE initiative (or through any other lawful traffic stop) can now demand a breath sample without having reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.
The OPP has also acquired approved drug screening equipment that can detect cannabis and cocaine in a driver’s saliva. The device can be used to enforce the provincial “zero tolerance” sanctions that now apply to young, novice and commercial drivers who are suspected of having the presence of drugs in their body.
Police note that officers can demand a driver to submit to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evaluation. SFST-trained officers and DREs have the expertise to detect impairment by alcohol, drugs or both in a driver.
“Whether a driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs or both, impaired is impaired – any time of year. Our frontline officers have never been more prepared than they are now to remove these dangerous drivers from our roads,” said Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique in a release.
In 2018, 56 people were killed in alcohol/drug-related collisions on OPP-patrolled roads.
Close to 600 people have died on OPP-patrolled roads in the past ten years in collisions that involved an alcohol or drug-impaired driver.
The festive RIDE campaign runs until January 2.
11:30 PM | A member of the Perth County OPP observed a vehicle conducting a U-turn on Perth Line 34. The officer conducted a traffic stop to check on the sobriety of the driver. While speaking with the driver, the officer suspected that the driver had consumed alcohol. The officer made a demand for the driver to provide a sample of their breath into an approved roadside screening device. The driver registered an ‘alert.’ The driver, a 57-year-old Wilmot Township man, was issued a seven-day driving suspension and the vehicle was towed and impounded as per statute.
11:00 PM | Members of the Wellington County OPP were conducting a Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere check on Wellington Road 7, Elora when the driver of a sport utility vehicle entered the RIDE check. Officers formed the opinion that the driver had been consuming alcohol. A roadside screening test was conducted, and the driver registered a fail. He was arrested and brought to a local OPP operations centre for further testing. The driver was also found to be in possession of what investigators believed was cocaine. As a result of the investigation, the 39-year-old Guelph man was charged with ‘impaired operation – 80 plus’ and ‘possession of cocaine.’ A 90-day driver’s licence suspension and seven-day vehicle impoundment were initiated. The accused is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice – Guelph on January 3.
7:00 AM | Waterloo Regional Police received reports of a sinkhole on Nafziger Road, just north of Snyders Road West in Wilmot Township. Approximately six cars were disabled when they drove over the hole, which measured one metre across. No injuries were reported. All disabled vehicles were removed from the scene. Nafziger Road was closed from Snyders Road West to Erbs Road while regional and township staff repaired the damage caused when a watermain burst.