DAILY NEWS Jan 4, 2013 2:17 PM - 1 comment

Impaired driving charges during holidays up in Ontario, down in B.C.

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The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has reported that charges for impaired driving laid as part of its 2012 holiday traffic safety campaign was the highest it has been when compared to the last eight campaigns (since 2005).

PoliceAs part of its Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign, the OPP charged 693 people with having blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08. The campaign ran from Nov. 24, 2012 to Jan. 2 of this year.

During that time, OPP officers also issued a total of 625 “Warn Range” suspensions to drivers caught having their BAC between 0.05 and 0.08.

The 2012 campaign charges were up from 682 charges during the 2011 holiday season.

“We had hoped to see these numbers decrease significantly during this year's campaign, in light of how much harder we have worked to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving,” OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis commented in a statement.  

“Impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and it is disappointing that we still have Ontario drivers who feel entitled to place other road users at risk of losing their lives to an impaired driver,” he added.

The OPP will continue its usual R.I.D.E. program throughout the year.

DrinkingBritish Columbia, however, saw fewer impaired driving charges by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the holidays over the 2011 season.

According to preliminary numbers, throughout areas policed by the RCMP in B.C., police laid 961 impaired related charges from Dec. 2, 2012 to Jan. 2, 2013, as part of its “Counterattack” campaign, similar to Ontario’s safety program. That’s down from 1,434 for last year’s campaign, according to the RCMP.

More than 1,419 people were also ticketed for use of an electronic device while driving, and 213 drivers were caught excessive speeding (doing 40 km/hour or more over the posted limit), the RCMP noted. Officers also handed out 1,364 seat belt tickets during December.

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