TORONTO, Ont. — Ontario is investing $4.8 million through the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) grant program to help police services across the province keep impaired drivers off the roads.
The province said Wednesday 171 police services will receive funding to carry out important year-round road safety initiatives such as education campaigns and roadside spot checks.
More than 1,700 people have died and over 25,000 people have been injured in collisions involving impaired drivers in the past decade in Ontario, according to official data.
The number of drinking and driving fatalities rose from 125 in 2016 to 133 in 2017, up 6%, the latest Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR) shows.
At the same time, the number of fatalities attributed to drugs increased from 74 in 2016 to 75 in 2017, up 1%, the report said.
“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 officers and paid duty RIDE activities over 2020-22, the province said.
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.”
Motorists 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.
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