Festive RIDE campaign in North Bay underway with zero tolerance
OPP, North Bay police and other area police agencies are reminding drivers of a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Police launched its annual RIDE campaign for the holiday season at the intersection of Hwy. 654 and Hwy. 94 in Callander on Thursday afternoon.
“People need to think before they drink because if you try and make those decisions once you’ve already have a snoot full of booze, you’re not making the proper decisions,” said North Bay police inspector Jeff Warner. “Plan another way home.”
When a vehicle approaches a ride check, police will look for any open alcohol in the car, followed by signs the driver may be impaired. Under alcohol screening laws, police can ask for a breath sample.
“When you’re asking them questions, you’re looking at their response, the glossy eyes, slurred speech, inability to answer simple questions, hesitation to tell you if they’ve consumed anything,” said Warner.
He said the issue is becoming more and more frustrating. Every year, police issue the same warning about the consequences of impaired driving. But the message is just not getting across to some drivers.
“I’ve been policing for over 30 years and I’ve met a number of families affected by impaired driving,” said OPP acting inspector Raymond St. Pierre.
“As a parent, I think about my children and relatives. Are they going to come home safe? Or are they going to get into a collision with someone who’s been drinking?”
OPP in the northeast region have seen a 78 per cent increase in impaired driving charges this year. Police believe that number is as high as it is due to these ride checks, and because more people are reporting seeing drunk drivers on the road.
“People are taking the chance that police aren’t everywhere. But we could be anywhere,” said St. Pierre. “You’re taking the chance that we won’t catch you. Zero per cent of alcohol behind the wheel is the acceptable number.”
In Ontario, 8,000 charges have been laid so far this year for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.