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Arrive alive this holiday season

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    Monday, December 23, 2013, 7:08 PM -

    The holiday season is upon us! That means the next few weeks will be full of busy shopping malls, delicious ginger bread houses and ugly Christmas sweaters.

    This time of year is chock-full of holiday parties with your loved ones and of course, the biggest party of the year, New Year’s Eve. The Toronto Police Service (TPS) and other surrounding police services launched their annual festive R.I.D.E (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) programs in November and will continue through to the first of January.

    This means drivers can expect random spot checks and breathalyzer tests set up around the GTA. If convicted of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, a driver can lose their license, pay a fine, take an alcohol treatment program or even spend time in jail.

    According to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario all it takes is one drink to reduce your ability to react to things that happen suddenly while you are driving.

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    The R.I.D.E program is out in full force during the holidays due to the enormous number of holiday parties taking place.

    In 2012, the Toronto Police Service's festive R.I.D.E program stopped a total of 162,084 vehicles. One out of 61 drivers that had been stopped had been drinking.

    Over 320 license suspensions were issued and a total of 141 drinking and driving charges were laid.

    Constable Clinton Stibbe of the TPS Traffic Services says, "Every year thousands of people operate vehicles while impaired, this socially unacceptable behaviour is one of the leading causes of death on our roadways." The holiday season is a time to have fun with family and friends.

    "Help save someone's life, maybe even your own by choosing not to operate a vehicle while impaired this holiday season," says Stibbe. 

    If you plan on having a few drinks, make sure you have a designated driver or arrange for a taxi or public transportation. Happy holidays!

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