Norfolk OPP laid 18 impaired-driving charges during its most recent Festive RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign.
The local force also imposed six three-day suspensions after motorists presented with a blood-alcohol content in the warning range (.05 to .08 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood).
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For its part, Haldimand OPP laid 15 charges for impaired driving along with four three-day suspensions for drivers with a blood-alcohol content in the warning range.
This year’s Festive RIDE campaign began Nov. 26 and ended Jan. 3.
Norfolk OPP mounted 66 spot checks while Haldimand staged 12. A total of 450 vehicles were checked in Haldimand but data in this area for the Norfolk detachment is unavailable.
West Region OPP – which is comprised of detachments in Norfolk, Haldimand, Brant, Oxford, Elgin, Grey, Bruce, Huron, Perth, Wellington, Middlesex, Lambton, Chatham-Kent and Essex counties – reports that 146 motorists were charged with impaired during the recent campaign in its jurisdiction.
This includes motorists who were under the influence of cannabis and other non-alcoholic substances.
Another 56 motorists in West Region had their licences suspended for three days after blowing in the warning range.
During the 2019-2020 festive RIDE campaign in West Region, 156 impaired driving charges were laid while 93 motorists had their licences suspended for three days.
The West Region data for the holiday season does not include impaired charges and warnings during regular patrols. OPP are pleased that motorists have got into the habit of dialling 911 when they spot someone driving dangerously or erratically.
During this year’s festive campaign, OPP across Ontario fielded 2,500 calls of this kind, leading to numerous pullovers, charges and arrests.
Across Ontario during the Christmas season, OPP mounted 6,700 sobriety spot checks. These resulted in 590 impaired charges. Nearly 200 others received three-day suspensions.
“Still too many drivers are endangering themselves and others by drinking and driving,” West Region OPP said in a post on social media earlier this month. “Why take the risk?”
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a special challenge during the latest RIDE campaign. In the past, officers have made a point of getting close to the passenger compartment to detect the odour of alcohol or cannabis.
This is risky during a pandemic involving an air-borne contagion. In response, officers wishing to learn more about a motorist’s state of mind resorted to breathalyzer tests.
“Drivers are reminded that officers continue to conduct mandatory alcohol screening,” OPP said in a news release from provincial headquarters in Orillia. “This criminal code authority makes it mandatory for drivers to comply with a demand for road-side breath testing even when officers have no suspicion that drivers have consumed alcohol.
“The OPP also reminds drivers that officers conduct RIDE stops throughout the year on roads, trails and waterways.”