How about fewer drunks on the road this year so that Burlington is truly the 2nd safest city in the country. RIDE program helps.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 28, 2012  It happens every year and every year the Halton Regional Police scoop up people who are driving when they shouldn’t be driving.

At the end of the RIDE program,  the police publish their results and – well sometimes there are improvements and sometimes there aren’t improvements.

A really very solid part of the RIDE program is the work the police do in the high schools.  They take the students through what they call RIDE 101 – a chance to get a look – up close and very personal,  on what happens to the head when you put too much alcohol in the tummy.  They make no mention of the experience with the toilet bowl – perhaps that is a little too personal for polite Burlington.

Nelson high school students trying to walk a straight line wearing goggles that create the level of vision a drunk driver would have. Central High students get to wear the goggles this year.

Last year we watched the police have Nelson High students put on special masks that gave the students an opportunity to experience what they would see if they were driving with too much alcohol in their blood.   For most, if not all, it was a bracing experience.

The Halton Regional Police Service takes their show on the road again this year and launches the RIDE program December 4th with the kick off taking place at Thomas A. Blakelock High School in Oakville.

This is the sixth year the police have put on a RIDE program.  The  “RIDE 101”, a program designed to educate drivers, particularly young and future drivers of the importance and responsibility while driving and the consequences associated to mixing alcohol or drugs and operating a motor vehicle.

High schools from across the Region will be participating in the program.  The event will be at Central High School – 1433 Baldwin Street, December 13th  from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Spot checks will be conducted from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. out front of the school.

The night component will entail members of the student council assisting designated officers in speaking with drivers of stopped vehicles during a R.I.D.E. spot check and distributing ‘Think of Me’ cards and information pamphlets on the consequences of impaired driving.  The ‘Think of Me’ cards are hand-drawn and coloured by grade four, five and six students and reflect on that child’s perception of drinking and driving.

The police stopped 17,396 vehicles during the 2011 RIDE program.  564 of those people were asked to blow into the device that measures the amount of alcohol in the blood; 87 people were given warnings while 23 failed the test.

Failing the test means you get to call home and ask for help or call your lawyer.  If you are just warned you face anything from a three day driving suspension up to a 30 day driving suspension if you are caught a third time.  Should the police officer that stops you decide to take you into the police station for a test on a much more sophisticated piece of equipment or if you refuse to take the breathing test – you lose your license automatically for 90 days.

While Burlington may be the #2 best Canadian city to live in, it had the worst results in terms of the number of people warned or charged by the police.

There were a total of 84 different RIDE check points set up, 31 each in Burlington and Oakville.  67 driving under the influence charges were laid by police.   Burlington’s record was the worst in the Region.

There were seven criminal charges laid for non-drinking offenses, 3 suspended drivers were caught and 178 people nabbed under the Provincial Offenses Act – most of them were from Oakville.

The Halton Regional Police are grateful for the community partners who are supportive of this worthy endeavour, including:  the Halton Catholic District School Board, the Halton District School Board, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (M.A.D.D.), McDonald’s restaurants and Tim Horton’s.

 

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