The Ontario government is investing $4.8 million through the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) grant program to help 171 police services across the province keep impaired drivers off streets and highways. Police services will receive funding to carry out important year-round road safety initiatives such as education campaigns and roadside spot checks.
“Driving impaired, whether from drugs or alcohol is not only illegal, it can be fatal. Making alternate plans to get home safely only takes a minute, and it can save your life and the lives of others,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “With the holiday season upon us, education campaigns and roadside spot checks are vital tools in the police arsenal to inform people about the dangers of driving impaired and the ways to keep our roads and highways safe.”
RIDE grant funding will be used to cover the overtime of sworn officers and paid duty RIDE activities over 2020-21 and 2021-22. All municipal and First Nations police services and OPP municipal contract locations are eligible for funding under the RIDE grant program.
“Ontario has among the safest roads in North America and we are committed to making them even safer,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “There is no reason anyone should be driving a vehicle after they have been drinking. There are plenty of alternative ways for people to avoid drinking and driving, including the use of our excellent public transit systems.”
As Ontarians prepare to celebrate the holiday season, they are reminded to make plans to get home safely. They can arrange for a designated driver, order a taxi or rideshare, or take public transit. They should also take immediate action if they see someone who may be impaired by arranging a ride for them or even calling 911 if someone is a risk to themselves and others.
According to provincial data, more than 1,700 people have died and over 25,000 people have been injured in collisions involving an impaired driver in the last decade in Ontario. Drivers found to be driving while impaired will face penalties immediately. They will also face additional consequences if convicted in court. Impaired driving penalties can vary depending on the driver’s age, licence type, the amount of alcohol or drugs in their system, and how many times they have offended.