The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service, in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police, Anishinabek Police Service, Batchewana First Nation Police, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, launched its annual Festive RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) Campaign, Thursday.
The annual enforcement and education initiative aims to take impaired drivers off the roads in Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township.
The cost of getting caught driving while impaired is heavy, says Traffic Sergeant Ray Magnan, of Sault Police Services. Far better, he said, that drivers form a safe-driving plan, perhaps have a designated driver, a friend or family member or call a taxi than putting other drivers at risk and possibly face stiff penalties.
A first offence carries a fine of $1,000. “You look at the other (costs) on top of that,” says Magnan. “Insurance costs will rise, the cost of getting your license back, a suspension from the Province, there’s a reinstatement fee there as well. It can get up to $20,000 once you get into legal fees and everything, I’ve heard. So it’s definitely not worth it, to risk it.
Do not drink or use drugs and drive.” Last year’s campaign saw 1,290 vehicles checked within the jurisdiction of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. The checks resulted in three criminal charges and four charges under the Highway Traffic Act.
If you are caught driving while impaired you could face the suspension of your driver’s licence, vehicle impoundment, fines, and jail time. If you are under the age of 22, or a G1, G2, or commercial driver, and are caught with ANY alcohol or cannabis in your system, you could face an automatic three-day licence
If a screening determines your ability to drive is impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs (or if you refuse a breath or bodily substance screening demand), you are subject to an immediate 90-day driver’s licence suspension and seven-day vehicle impoundment.
Drivers who suspect someone is driving while impaired are urged to call 911. “That’s actually one of the times where you can use your phone while driving, as an exemption,” says Magnan. Sault Police Services says the holiday season is a time for enjoying time with friends, family, and loved ones and remind everyone to celebrate responsibly.