That’s the message Peel Regional Police are looking to spread as officers yesterday announced the launch of their Christmas season RIDE campaign, which will see increased spot-checks across Mississauga and Brampton.
Peel police’s Road Safety Services Unit says more than 1,100 people have been charged with impaired-related driving offences already this year. Last year, the force charged 1,477 people, 86 per cent of which were male.
The holiday initiative focuses on detecting and removing those drivers impaired by drugs and/or alcohol from the roads. It will run Nov. 20 to Jan. 2.
Peel police will have several officers assigned specifically to RIDE spot-checks.
“Impaired driving is no accident. It is one of the leading causes of criminal death in Canada that can be avoided by planning ahead,” said Peel Insp. Paul Pogue, officer-in-charge of Road Safety Services. “We want you to make it home safely to be with the people you care about and ask that you make the right choices this holiday season.”
Data from last season’s Holiday RIDE program in Peel shows the average age of drinking drivers is 36. The program ended in early 2015 with more than 500 motorists facing charges or with their licences suspended for drinking and driving in Mississauga and Brampton.
Peel Const. Joel Genoe of Road Safety Services said initiatives targeting impaired driving, such as the much-publicized RIDE enforcement during the Christmas season and other special occasions during the year, go a long way in preventing drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking:
Police say they have no clue why there is such a disproportionate number of men being charged, but said it’s of little consequence to officers on the road, who are out to nab drinking drivers, regardless of age or gender.
Peel police also say officers are seeing an increasing number of drug-impaired drivers on Mississauga and Brampton streets, although the force doesn’t keep general statistics on the crime.
The police force also doesn’t have any special equipment dedicated specifically to testing for drug impairment, although officers and anti-drunk driving groups hope that will soon change.