44,000 holiday Hamilton RIDE checks snag 30 impaired drivers

Hamilton police have pulled over about 44,000 vehicles since Nov. 26 for the holiday RIDE program. It's resulted in 30 impaired driving charges.

Hamilton chapter president for Mothers Against Drunk Driving says RIDE program is 'worthwhile and justified'

Eric Johnston from Hamilton Police Service works at a RIDE stop in 2013. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Hamilton police have pulled over more than 44,000 vehicles since Nov. 26 for the holiday RIDE program, including more than 2,000 on New Year's Eve, when police chief Glenn De Caire joined the officers on patrol.

Those stops have resulted in 30 impaired driving charges.

No impaired driving charges were laid as a result of the more than 2,000 cars stopped in RIDE checks on New Year's Eve downtown, in the east end or on the Mountain, police said Thursday. Two impaired driving charges came as a result of other regular policing in the east end, Staff Sgt. Marco Del Conte said.

Despite that ratio of few actual charges to the number of cars stopped, Larissa Roechner, Hamilton chapter president for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, defended the program as "worthwhile and justified." 

"The program is doing exactly what it is called. The goal of the program is to reduce impaired driving everywhere," Roechner said.

"Not only does it assist with getting impaired drivers off the road, it is an awareness campaign in itself."

Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 30, Hamilton police checked 42,400 cars in special holiday RIDE check stops. Of those stops, 68 drivers were given roadside tests, according to Claus Wagner, spokesman for the Hamilton Police Service.

Of those 68, 35 drivers passed, 18 were given warnings and lost their licence for three days and 15 failed. On top of the 15 roadside fails, 14 more drivers were charged and taken directly to the station without the roadside test. One more charge brought the total to 30 impaired driving charges as a result of the RIDE checks.

Every year, Hamilton police get a $44,000 grant from the Ministry of Community Safety, most of which is spent on the Holiday RIDE program. Police also conduct RIDE checks throughout the year when they have time, but the costs for those are covered by the general highway traffic budget, Wagner said. 


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