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A Saint John Police Force vehicle sits in front of police headquarters at One Peel Plaza. Image: Brad Perry

Festive R.I.D.E Program Returns With New Partners

By Brad Perry Dec 12, 2022 | 4:57 AM

Saint John police have brought back their Festive R.I.D.E. program for the second year, but this time with more partners.

Police and public safety officers will conduct checkpoints and roaming patrols at various locations targeting impaired driving infractions.

The campaign, which takes place each weekend in December, has a goal of reducing impaired driving during the holiday season.

Last year, Saint John police partnered with the Department of Justice and Public Safety. This year’s campaign will also include the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force (KRPF).

Saint John police Chief Robert Bruce said adding KRPF will allow them to be a “force multiplier and get out there.”

“When you have two people from Justice [and Public Safety], let’s say, and two people from KV, that’s our four officers that are still out on the road answering calls,” Bruce said in an interview last week.

“Our command staff also participates in that. Myself, the deputy and the commanders all do our turns on R.I.D.E. If we can put another member back on the road but still have the impact, that’s what we’re looking for.”

During the first weekend, between Dec. 1 and 4, officers checked 1,483 vehicles and conducted 158 mandatory roadside screening tests.

Two people were arrested for impaired driving and three seven-day suspensions were issued. Police also nabbed two suspended drivers and one prohibited driver.

Statistics from MADD Canada show nearly 87,000 federal charges and provincial short-term suspensions are laid for impaired driving annually. That averages out to about 10 charges and short-term suspensions handed out to drivers every hour.

Bruce said the Christmas holiday season is when they tend to see the most impaired drivers on the road.

“The last couple of years have been very difficult,” he said, “When people get a chance to go with their coworkers or family and enjoy a good meal and have a drink or two, they may forget sometimes that there are consequences to that.”

Bruce said it is important to have a plan before heading out, such as phoning a friend or spending the night where you are.

Police also encourage people who encounter a driver who they believe is impaired to call 911 and report it.


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