BRANT/HALDIMAND — Drivers are warned that this Christmas season the Ontario Provincial Police will be very visible with random R.I.D.E. stations set up to check for impaired drivers and seat belt violations on Brant and Haldimand County roads.
They are calling it the Festive RIDE program. The gifts being given out however, can be very costly, especially during these festive times.
Insp. Lisa Anderson, detachment commander for Brant OPP, says the program is intended to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries due to impaired drivers.
Anderson tipped her hand a bit by announcing that increased focus will include Cockshutt Road, Highway 24 and Highway 54. On Highway 24, personally injury accidents are down 70 per cent, with no fatalities.
She also reports that there has been a 71 per cent increase in the number of impaired driving charges laid this year. Of those charged, 40 per cent were drug-related impairments.
OPP is now equipped with cannabis detecting tools can detect cannabis and cocaine in a driver’s saliva.
“We want drivers to know in an attempt to change driving behaviour,” she said. “So far, it’s working.”
Statistics show that last year, more than 10,000 RIDE spot checks were conducted across the province, resulting in 512 drivers charged for driving while impaired by alcohol, while 38 more were found to be driving while impaired by drug-related substances.
Locally, 10 people were charged with impaired driving – one being impaired by drugs – as a result of 58 RIDE checks last year.