Aurora, Ontario – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will launch their annual Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign on Friday, November 26, 2010. The campaign runs until January 2, 2011.

The program has proven to be an effective deterrent and an important tool in raising awareness about driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police said.

During the five-week initiative in 2009, OPP officers stopped 1,199,280 vehicles at roadside checkpoints, up from 884,729 in 2008. In 2009, 299 people were charged with criminal code alcohol-related offences, along with 5,195 other driving-related charges and 746 warn range suspensions.

As of December 1, 2010, drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 80 milligrams, or who fail or refuse to comply with a demand by a police officer to provide a sample, will have their vehicles impounded for seven days.

The new law is in addition to other recent changes that took effect in August 2010, where drivers under 21 years of age, regardless of the class of licence they have, must have a zero BAC or be suspended on the spot for 24 hours. As well, drivers caught with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, known as the “warn range,” will have their licences immediately suspended for three days for a first occurrence, seven days for a second occurrence, and 30 days for a third or subsequent occurrence.

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