R.I.D.E program gets assistance from a special visitorSunday, December 22, 2013 by: Jamie Lyle
Drivers who were stopped at the R.I.D.E check points that were set up along Lakeshore Drive Saturday night got an early visit from the Jolly old elf himself, St. Nick.
The North Pole's master of the naughty and nice list hit the streets on Saturday, helping the North Bay Police Services make sure that everybody is playing by the rules when it comes to automobiles and safe driving.
Their message was mainly about the dangers of impaired driving, not just being of the beverage type, but also making aware of the fact that those who use street drugs are also likely impaired behind the wheel, creating an unsafe situation on city roads.
“Impaired driving means that you're ability to drive, by either drugs or alcohol is impaired,” says Sergeant Mike Hunter, of The North Bay City Police Services.
R.I.D.E enforcement officers spoke of the importance that the program has in insuring that the streets stay safe for everyone and that no one can get away with having one too many and then going behind the wheel.
“The idea here is to make people aware that we're out checking for drivers who are impaired, and we're also checking for other offences as well” says Sergeant Hunter, who added that, during the holiday season, R.I.D.E operations will be happening in various locations on a daily basis, including weekends, especially during Christmas and New Year's.
The police official was quick to point out that fatigue and poor judgement on wintery roads often cause mishaps as well, and with the long hours of travel and socialization during the holidays throwing off sleep schedules, people's minds tend to wander when it comes to making safety behind the wheel of an automobile a priority, sometimes driving too fast for winter conditions.
In addition to driver fatigue, Sgt. Hunter says that abusing pharmaceuticals and driving are also a bad mix.
“They don't fall so much in the criminal side of things, but they can fall within the careless driving,” he says.
“If you're taking medication or any prescribed drugs that is causing you to be impaired when your drive or cause you do not be able to drive to your full potential, that can also be dangerous and also be subjected to police intervention or fines” he stated.
Sergeant Hunter says that it's fairly easy for police to identify an impaired driver by a few facets, such as the driving itself; if someone is weaving in the lane, making abrupt changes, either in speed or in movements.
Other factors that can determine whether or not a driver is impaired are through the observations of the person; the slurred speech, the glassy eyes, the smell of alcohol on the breath.
“All of those can lead to the identification of impairment as well,” he says.
Sgt. Hunter pointed out that, at the roadside check point, if the officers pick up obvious signs that a driver may be impaired and believe that the person is impaired, that person may be arrested and taken back to the police station, to be turned over to a breathalyzer technician and ordered to give a proper sample.
If a police officer has suspicions that a driver might be impaired but is not a hundred percent sure, he or she can then offer then a roadside screening device, which will give a better idea as to whether or not a person is in fact, impaired.
If a warning is indicated, police will then suspend a driver's license on the spot for 7 days and that person may also be subjected to fines.
The test, which gives a suspected impaired driver a pass or fail result depending whether or not they fall under, in or over the numbers of 80-100, has two fairly simple outcomes.
If you pass the test, then away you go.
If you fail, the police will then arrest you and process you at the police station.
“Again, now they're in the ability where their driving is impaired,” says Sgt. Hunter.
The North Bay Police Services want everyone to have a fun and safe holiday season but can't stress enough that they are on the lookout for impaired driving.