By Steph Crosier
Courtesy of Code 11: On the Scene 
Drunk drivers are on the road anytime of day, says Quinte West OPP.
That was just one of the surprises found by the OPP during the 2012 holiday season at their RIDE programs.
Sgt Dave Tovell, in charge of the OPP’s RIDE program, said the community seemed surprised to see RIDE programs set up during the day.
“People drink and drive at all hours of the day,” said Tovell. “This past season we actually encountered impaired drivers at 8:30 in the morning, 10:30 a.m., and shortly after noon.”
North of Quinte West, Stirling Police felt good about their own RIDE program, said officer Tom Wilson.
“I would say it was a pretty positive,” said Wilson. “People were behaving, I’d say it was a positive experience.”
During the season, the Stirling service conducted eight RIDE checks, during which 836 vehicles were stopped, seven provincial offenses notices were issued, and one road-side test was done.
During the holiday season the Belleville Police Service often worked with the Quinte West OPP along Wallbridge- Loyalist Road, said Sgt Tom Sweet of Belleville Police.
“We have pretty good working agreement,” said Sweet. “We know them, it’s a matter of a text or a phone call, and we’ll set up. It pretty much doubles your numbers so we can do a lot more spot (checks).”
Sweet said their RIDE program stopped 3000 vehicles, conducted 12 road-side breathalyzer tests, issued three three-day license suspensions, two seven-day suspensions, five criminal charges for impaired driving, and one person was charged with possession with the purpose of trafficking.
“I think it went quite well,” said Sweet. “Operation Red Nose was great, we stopped their cars every night. The cabs were also good. It looks like a lot of people are starting to get the message.”
According to their website, Red Nose Quinte drove 2999 people home on 1566 rides, with 851 volunteers. Donations to Red Nose will not be revealed until the volunteer banquet on February 15, said Rick Watt, chairperson of Red Nose Quinte.
Working with the local police services has been very successful, said Watt.
“They are outstanding,” said Watt “They thank us every time because it helps them with their job, it helps make the road safer.”
Watt said they have noticed more people have organized a way home after a night on the town.
“We want people to phone a friend, to call a cab, and then call us,” said Watt. “Our goal is to have no fatalities on the road while they are in operation.”