‘Red-ribbon’ campaign kicks off as the number of impaired drivers increase in Ottawa, police say

As you plan your office or home holiday party and get-together, a reminder for everyone to drive sober and plan a safe way home this holiday season.

The number of people arrested for impaired-driving related offences on Ottawa’s roads continues to climb, according to the Ottawa Police Traffic Unit.

“This is a disturbing trend,” police said on Twitter.

Already this year, 114 drivers were in the ‘warn’ range, compared to 83 drivers in 2021.

“Drive sober, plan ahead,” Insp. John Mbakulo told CTV News Ottawa.

As of Nov. 5, police have issued 463 alcohol-impaired driving charges to motorists this year, compared with 375 in 2021. According to data from Ottawa police, 68 motorists have been charged with drug-impaired driving, compared to 72 in 2021, while 99 motorists have been charged with “refusing to provide a breath sample,” compared to 107 in 2021.

“Whereas, there has been a decrease over the past 35 years, over the past two years in particular those numbers have increased, the amount of impaired drivers,” Mbakulo said. “This is a result of the opening of public spaces, restaurants and bars, and increasing the number of parties and social gatherings that people are attending in larger numbers.”

Ottawa police, the OPP, RCMP and Mothers Against Drunk Driving kicked off the annual ‘red-ribbon’ campaign at Ottawa city hall on Wednesday.

“Think about what you’re doing, think ahead,” MADD Ottawa President Valerie Keyes said.

“If you’re going to a party, have a designated driver or take a taxi, but think of your plan in advance.”

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