Impaired drivers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Chief Mark Saunders warned at the annual holiday RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) launch at Humber College.
During last year’s program, TPS officers stopped nearly 15,000 drivers and arrested 78 for driving over the limit and 38 for impaired driving.
“The message is still not as clear as we want it to be,” said Saunders, at the launch on November 19. “But, as a united voice, we are trying to say it’s important to make the right decision when it comes to drinking and driving or taking any type of drugs. If you are going to make the wrong decision, make sure that you know that, in the City of Toronto, we are going to be enforcing the law stronger than we have ever done before.”
The TPS is among 20 road-safety partners in this year’s campaign.
“This is a collective voice,” added Saunders. “That means there is a very clear message that we want to get across. We are the first responders to the aftermath of those people who make poor decisions every year. It’s sad when we have to come here each and every year. If we don’t educate, then the only thing we are left to do is continually enforce.
“We want to make people understand the carnage that it causes in the community and the fact that loss of life occurs each and every year when people make these poor decisions. There are so many options out there today: you can make a decision, a smart one, and not have to be where you are charged with impaired or over.”
As of November 17 in the city, a total of 1,151 drivers were charged for impaired driving-related offences, 1,012 drivers were issued a 90-day license suspension, 443 drivers received a range of licence suspensions and five of the 55 fatal collisions involved drivers who were impaired while operating a motor vehicle.
Last year, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) investigated 52 alcohol- and/or drug-related motor vehicle collision fatalities.
“Any amount of alcohol or drugs could impair one’s ability to drive,” said OPP Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, in charge of the province’s police Highway Safety Division. “Make sure you plan ahead. Arrange for a designated driver, take a taxi, stay overnight or take public transit.”
During the 2014 RIDE campaign, the OPP charged nearly 6,000 drivers with impaired driving.
Following the launch, Toronto and other police service conducted a mid-day RIDE spot check on Humber College Blvd.
The Toronto Police Service is also encouraging citizens to assist police by calling 9−1−1 if they believe another driver may be operating a vehicle while impaired.