Fewer charges in Ottawa’s 2020 Festive RIDE campaign amid COVID-19 lockdowns – Ottawa


The Ottawa Police Service said fewer drivers were charged for impaired driving during its 2020 Festive RIDE campaign than the year previous amid emergency measures related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Police said officers with the annual RIDE campaign, aimed at keeping drunk and otherwise impaired drivers off the road, stopped 4,000 cars in Ottawa between Nov. 26, 2020 and Jan. 2, resulting in six charges of impaired driving. Three people also had their licences suspended after blowing at the “warn” level on a breathalyzer.

Twelve drivers were charged with having cannabis or liquor readily available to the driver, police added.

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Over the same period, regular patrol officers in the capital charged an additional 48 people with impaired driving, raising the total number of charges during the campaign to 54. Another 10 people also had their licences suspended for hitting the “warn” level on the breathalyzer.

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Those figures are down from 2019 levels, Ottawa police tell Global News.

The previous year’s Festive RIDE program stopped roughly 4,500 vehicles over the course of the campaign.

Including RIDE stops and charges laid by patrol officers, 78 people were charged with impaired driving over the same period as in 2020, police said.

An OPS spokesperson noted that Ontario’s emergency measures were in place over the course of the RIDE campaign, including a provincewide lockdown that went into effect on Dec. 26.

The Ontario government had also issued recommendations against non-essential travel during the period.


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