Stay Sober Behind the Wheel

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 10 a.m. December 24, 2019

Toronto Police are reminding drivers to pass on drugs and alcohol before getting behind the wheel during the holiday season and make it a lasting commitment in the New Year.

A man in TPS uniform leaning into a car
A Traffic Services officer stops a car at a RIDE spotcheck to ensure the driver is not impaired

“If you drink, don’t drive,” said Sgt. Warren Stein, of Traffic Services. “It is a message we keep putting out and will continue to do in light of that devastating collision that resulted in the loss of two young lives just before Christmas.”

On December 22, two 19-year-old men were killed by an alleged impaired driver while walking in the Markham Rd. and Progress Ave. area.

Traffic Services officers held a RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) spot check at St. Clair Ave. E. and Warden Ave. in the middle of the day on December 23 to underline the message that police officers will be out at all times monitoring impaired driving.

Sgt. Jason Kraft said the spot check is a reminder that police will be out checking drivers for impairment by drugs or alcohol.

“We wanted to raise awareness of our spot check program and the importance of staying sober behind the wheel – whether by alcohol or drugs,” he said.

Officers were also pulling over drivers for a Mandatory Alcohol Screening during the spotcheck. Police have the authority to test drivers without any suspicion they have consumed alcohol at a RIDE spot check or during a vehicle stop.


A line of cars being stopped by police officers
A RIDE spotcheck being conducted right before Christmas

The event was supported by  Smart Serve Ontario and  arrive alive Drive Sober, whose volunteers distributed awareness materials to drivers that were stopped.

Anne Leonard, of arrive alive Drive Sober, says that people often don't realize they may be impaired, such as when they wake up the next morning from a party.

“Ahead of Christmas and New Year’s where people might be drinking until 1 or 2 in the morning and at 8 a.m. when you go to take your kid to hockey you might still be over the legal limit,” Leonard said.

She said the loss of two young people to an alleged impaired driver reinforces the work that is being done to raise awareness.

“We’ve had this horrible tragedy where two young men have been killed, it’s a sad reminder to be ever more vigilant in doing what we do.”

Stein urged people to think about all the transportation options that are at their disposal.

“There are designated drivers, taxis, ride-sharing services and other means of public transportation,” he said. “Use them and stay safe while keeping others safe.”

There has been a total of 62 traffic fatalities in the city so far this year compared to 65 for the same period in 2018.

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