Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) officially kicked off the 2023 Festive Ride (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign yesterday at the DRPS Education and Training Centre in Whitby.
Over the next six weeks the Ride team will be out across Durham Region ensuring roadways are safe. Last year’s Ride campaign saw a total of 9,907 vehicles stopped, with 77 drivers charged with drinking and driving offences – an increase in the number of impaired drivers from 2021 where 6,761 vehicles were stopped and 65 charged, said a police statement.
Chief Peter Moreira helped kick-off this year’s campaign and had a message for motorists. “Impaired driving will not be tolerated on our roadways. The consequences of impaired driving are devastating, leading to tragedies that affect countless lives,” he said.
“In 2022, Durham Regional Police Service had 826 impaired driving incidents, up from 745 in 2021. So far this year we have had 745 impaired driving incidents, a five per cent increase from the 709 we had last year. This is far too many. We can and must do better. We are especially concerned that impaired motor vehicle collisions involving death or injury more than doubled in 2022 (32) over 2021 (14). So far in 2023, we have had 21. This is unacceptable.”
DRPS Ride team lead Acting Sgt. Bob Baumgartner added, “This holiday season you will see our team deployed using a strategic, data driven approach to enforcement in an effort to ensure the roads of Durham Region are as safe as possible. This task is not one that can be accomplished by DRPS alone, which is why we have partnered with OPP, MTO, Durham EMS, and various fire and emergency services to make a unified plea to the community – if you see something, say something. We are in this together and rely on the public to not only drive sober, but also help ensure others make the right choice. Impaired driving is a life-or-death emergency – if you suspect someone is driving impaired, dial 9-1-1, it may save a life.”
Project Red Ribbon
MADD also launched its annual “Project Red Ribbon” campaign to promote sober driving during the holiday season and remind Canadians about the importance of planning ahead for a sober ride home.
The holiday season remains a busy time on our roadways and a time of high risk for impaired driving. MADD Durham Region is urging people to take a few minutes to plan ahead. If you’re going to be consuming alcohol, cannabis or other drugs, arrange a sober ride, it said.
If you see a driver you suspect is impaired, please call 9-1-1 to report it to police; the call you make could save a life, DRPS said as it wished everyone a safe and happy holiday season.