Police in Toronto and around the province are continuing with an annual tradition: holiday RIDE checks.
It’s New Year’s Eve and that means officers will be patrolling Ontario’s roads and highways, looking for impaired drivers.
While the number of drivers stopped already in 2010 is down slightly from last year, the number of infractions is also down. Last year, police handed out warning suspensions to 176 drivers. This year, it was 166.
And the number of people charged is down from 109 to 73.
But the overall message remains the same: Don’t drink and drive.
The Ontario government is reminding drivers to plan ahead and never drive impaired. That includes abstaining from not just alcohol, but also some prescription drugs and all illegal substances.
“Our tough laws, public education campaigns and enforcement activities are working, but we need everyone to get the message. We all have a responsibility to end impaired driving in Ontario. This New Year’s Eve, make sure your plans include a safe ride home,” Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne said.
In Toronto, the TTC is free after midnight, and other public transit systems are following suit. That includes GO Transit, , OC Transpo in Ottawa, London Transit Commission and Greater Sudbury Transit.
Operation Red Nose volunteers may also be available in your community to give you a ride home.
To get home safely, drivers are reminded to plan ahead, take public transit, call a cab, ride with a designated driver or stay overnight.
- About one-quarter of all fatalities on Ontario roads are alcohol-related.
- Annually, Ontario issues approximately 17,000 licence suspensions related to driving with a blood alcohol concentration over .08 or for failing/refusing to provide a breath sample.
- In 2007, impaired driving claimed 204 lives in Ontario.
- Motor vehicle collisions involving impaired drivers cost Ontario $3.6 billion annually in social and health care costs.