Festive RIDE program begins

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) works all year to keep Ontario roads safe from impaired drivers, and is making it a particular focus during its Festive RIDE campaign that officially begins this weekend.

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, the OPP is 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 which 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.

Motorists are reminded 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.

Motorists are also reminded that RIDE checks happen throughout the year, not just the festive season.