Regional Police have released some figures from their Oktoberfest / Thanksgiving long weekend Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) Program.

Over the course of the opening weekend of Oktoberfest, Regional Police checked 6,121 vehicles over 14 check-points. Out of the “static” component of the RIDE program, Police charged four people with having over .08 blood alcohol level. “No persons were actually charged for impaired driving only, but we did have three people who received three-day suspensions.” Olaf Heinzel, Public Affairs Coordinator said.

Police also conducted a “mobile” RIDE program, in which officers pull over drivers who are suspected of impaired driving, based on both observations made by officers, and tips called in by members of the public.

Heinzel said the mobile RIDE stats show “four people were charged with impaired driving and having over 80 mg, as well, we had three additional people charged with having over 80 mg.”

How do the 2012 RIDE numbers compare with the 2011 RIDE program over the same time period? Heinzel breaks down the figures.

“We did additional RIDE programs this year, we had 14, where as over the same period last year we did 12. We also stopped approximately 400 more vehicles this year than we did last year. We had more road side screening tests, we had 31 people who were tested at the roadside this year, versus 21 last year. There were four three-day suspensions this year, five last year. Last year we had one person charged with over 80 mg in a RIDE program this year we had four.” Heinzel said about the static RIDE check-points.

How did the mobile RIDE program stack up 2012 versus 2011?

“We had 8 people charged last year with impaired driving and over 80 mg, versus four this year. One person was charged with impaired driving, zero this year. We had three people charged with over 80 mg this year, and no people charged with that offence last year in mobile RIDE programs.” Heinzel said.

“The likelihood that the increase in numbers is largely due to enforcement. It also depends, of course, on the volume of vehicles that are out there and the number of people participating.”

Heinzel said the RIDE programs will continue this week, “The best thing is prevention. If you’re planning on going out and ‘festing … (or) going out to a house party … please make arrangement to plan ahead to get a safe way home,” said Heinzel. “That could mean staying over, having a designated driver, or taking public transportation.”

While this program was conducted over the opening weekend of Oktoberfest, it isn’t fair to draw a direct link to Oktoberfest participation. ” … if they had been drinking, that could have been any number of sources.” Heinzel said.

Mike.McCulloch@rci.rogers.com