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OPP kicking off Festive Ride Program with new saliva test for drug screening

KAWARTHA LAKES-This years OPP Festive Ride Program officially kicks off this Saturday and they have a new tool to help identify drivers who are impaired by drugs.

With new impaired driving laws phased in last year, the OPP is heading into the seasonal campaign with enhanced tools and authorities. Under the new law, police officers in possession of an approved screening device who lawfully pull over a driver in a RIDE initiative (or through any other lawful traffic stop) can now demand a breath sample without having reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.

“With festive parties and holiday gatherings just around the corner, plan ahead and don’t drive impaired. It is a serious criminal offence to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and police officers across Ontario have the tools to detect impaired drivers. Please drive responsibly to help keep our roadways safe this holiday season.” says Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General

The OPP has acquired new approved drug screening equipment which can detect cannabis and cocaine in a driver’s saliva. The device can be used to enforce the provincial “zero tolerance” sanctions that now apply to young, novice and commercial drivers who are suspected of having the presence of drugs in their body.

Motorists are reminded that officers can demand a driver to submit to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evaluation. SFST-trained officers and DREs have the expertise to detect impairment by alcohol, drugs or both in a driver.

“Whether a driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs or both, impaired is impaired – any time of year. Our frontline officers have never been more prepared than they are now to remove these dangerous drivers from our roads.”  said Thomas Carrique, Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner.

Drivers and passengers are reminded to adhere to strictly-enforced laws that address transportation of cannabis in motor vehicles.

In 2018, 56 people were killed in alcohol/drug-related collisions on OPP-patrolled roads according to police. Close to 600 people have died on OPP-patrolled roads in the past ten years in collisions that involved an alcohol or drug-impaired driver.

Every day, on average, up to four Canadians are killed and 175 are injured in impairment-related crashes according to police.

The OPP Festive RIDE Campaign runs from November 23, 2019 to January 2, 2020.

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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