Stopping impaired drivers from taking lives on our roads can be no less than a full, all-in collaboration between police, other road safety partners and Ontario citizens.

It’s a message the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and its many partners hope will resonate strongly with Ontarians, as the annual Festive R.I.D.E. campaign gets underway across the province.

During the seven-week campaign, led by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, alcohol/drug-impaired drivers have as great a chance as ever to observe police make full use of their expertise and sophisticated set of tools to detect, charge, and immediately remove these dangerous drivers from the road.

Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) available to police

One police tool that drivers should be particularly mindful of is Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS). MAS allows a police officer to demand a breath test from any lawfully stopped driver (which includes those pulled over in Festive R.I.D.E. stops), even if there is no evidence or suspicion that the driver has consumed alcohol.

Drivers are reminded that Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE) and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) officers remain effective police resources for detecting drug-impaired drivers and that the same penalties apply as those who are alcohol-impaired.      

“Sadly, 51 people have died on OPP-patrolled roads this year in collisions that involved a driver who consumed alcohol and/or drugs. This ongoing, senseless loss of life is what drives the OPP’s commitment and that of our valued road safety partners to eliminate impaired driving on our roads,” said Thomas Carrique, OPP Commissioner. “If you suspect or witness impaired driving, please treat it like the dangerous crime that it is and immediately report it to police. Together, we can keep our roads safe during the holidays.”

“In Ontario, impaired driving is one of the leading causes of death on the roads. Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is dangerous and illegal,” said Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney. “As you make plans for the holiday season and year-round, please remember to plan ahead and use public transit, take a taxi or have a designated driver to ensure you arrive home safely.”

“Let’s all do our part to keep our roads safe, and prevent the tragic deaths and devastating injuries caused by impaired driving.”

Young, novice and commercial drivers are reminded that, under Ontario’s zero tolerance law, it is illegal for these driver classes to have any amount of alcohol or drugs in their system.