OPP launch holiday R.I.D.E. campaign to combat impaired driving

Nearly half of the people killed in impaired driving-related crashes on Ontario roads over the last 15 years have been innocent victims, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.

47 per cent of impaired-related crash victims were not at fault: OPP

The Ontario Provincial Police have launched their annual holiday R.I.D.E. campaign to combat impaired driving across the province. (Samantha Samson/CBC)

Nearly half of the people killed in impaired driving-related crashes on Ontario roads over the last 15 years have been innocent victims, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.

The OPP released that statistic Friday during the launch of their annual Festive Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (R.I.D.E.) campaign, in an attempt to put the problem of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs into perspective. 

Since 2003, 464 of the 987 people killed in impaired driving collisions — or 47 per cent — were not the impaired driver, the OPP said. So far this year, 37 people have died in collisions on OPP-patrolled roads in which alcohol or drugs were a factor, 19 of whom were innocent victims. 

Campaign runs until Jan. 2

"Sadly, 2017 marks the fourth consecutive year to see a higher number of innocent people killed than impaired drivers who caused the collision," the OPP said in a news release. 

Police are hoping those traffic fatality statistics will be on drivers' minds during the holiday season campaign, which runs from Nov. 24 to Jan. 2, 2018. 

During last year's seven-week campaign, the OPP charged 562 drivers with impaired driving after conducting more than 6,875 R.I.D.E. checks throughout the province.