The Ontario Provincial Police’s holiday RIDE campaign officially kicks off on Saturday and runs until Jan. 2.
“With festive parties and holiday gatherings just around the corner, plan ahead and don’t drive impaired,” Ontario’s solicitor general, Sylvia Jones, said in a statement.
“It is a serious criminal offence to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and police officers across Ontario have the tools to detect impaired drivers.”
With new impaired driving laws phased in last year, police say they’re entering the holiday season with “enhanced tools and authorities.”
According to the OPP, officers with an approved screening device who lawfully pull over a driver during a RIDE check or traffic stop can demand a breath sample without having reasonable suspicion that the driver has consumed alcohol.
Police say they’ve also acquired drug-screening equipment that can detect cannabis and cocaine in a driver’s saliva.
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Novice drivers, commercial vehicle drivers and young drivers who are 21 and under are not permitted to have any alcohol or drugs in their system, police add.
“Whether a driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs or both, impaired is impaired – any time of year,” OPP commissioner Thomas Carrique said in a statement.
“Our frontline officers have never been more prepared than they are now to remove these dangerous drivers from our roads.”
Officers are reminding residents that they can demand that a driver submit a standardized field sobriety test and a drug recognition expert evaluation.
In 2018, 56 people were killed in alcohol- or drug-related collisions on OPP-patrolled roads.