Impaired driving is Canada’s number one criminal cause of death and injury. On average, it claims between 1,250 and 1,500 lives and causes close to 64,000 injuries in Canada each year. Impaired driving is a proliferating problem that requires action.
In 1977, the Etobicoke Police Service (a suburb of Toronto), devised a anti-drinking and driving campaign called “Reduce Impaired Driving in Etobicoke” (R.I.D.E). The RIDE campaign involved high profile public service announcements advising the community that the police would be actively patrolling and enforcing impaired driving offences during the holiday season. The RIDE campaign also involved establishing high profile police checkpoints at strategic locations to check all passing motorists for signs of intoxication.
The Ontario government grew fond of Etobicoke’s RIDE program, and by 1983, had implemented RIDE as a province-wide campaign that runs all year long. The meaning of RIDE changed from “Reduce Impaired Driving in Etobicoke” to “Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere”. Each year, the Ontario government provides $1.2 million dollars to Ontario police agencies to enhance their enforcement capability against impaired driving.