Ontario is home to a program known as Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere, or R.I.D.E. Designed to protect drivers from those who may be behind the wheel while impaired, the program is in operation at all times. As any of the Toronto DUI lawyers will tell their clients, it pays to know about the program, how to cooperate, and what can happen if you fail the sobriety tests administered by the roadside. Here are a few facts to help you get started.
The History of R.I.D.E.
While the program is now found throughout Ontario, it had more humble beginnings. Originally launched in 1977, it was based in Etobicoke and known as Reduce Impaired Driving in Etobicoke. In less than a year, the program proved to significantly reduce incidences of impaired driving and the resulting accidents in the area, That success led to the program being adopted throughout the province and given it's current name.
How it Works
The program involves setting up a series of checkpoints to monitor driving activity. It's not unusual for law enforcement to establish those points along major highways or on the off-ramps used for exiting higher traffic roads. All drivers are stopped and asked a series of questions. If the responses or something about the driver's behavior indicates the potential of being under the influence of alcohol or some other substance, the driver will be asked to step out of the vehicle and submit to roadside testing. In the event that the driver is found to be over the legal BAC limit or is unable to complete the tests indicating drug consumption, an arrest is made and the driver is transported to the nearest police station.
What You Should Do - And What You Should Not Do
While many people associate R.I.D.E with major holidays or sporting events that attract large crowds, the truth is that the police can set up checkpoints at any time of the year and along just about any kind of roadway. If you happen to be driving along and see a checkpoint ahead, there are a few things you should do.
The first is to continue approaching the checkpoint rather than attempting to exit the roadway. A U-turn or what appears to be a last minute decision to take a side street could attract attention. Even if you are taking the action because you don't want to be slowed down by the checkpoint, being pulled over will take more time than simply going through the checkpoint and answering the questions.
Your best bet is to roll down the driver window when you arrive at the checkpoint and answer all the questions the officer asks. Keep your tone even and try not to show any irritation at this delay in your travels. If you've not consumed any alcohol and do not exhibit signs of being under the influence of any substance, the process will only take a couple of minutes and you will be on your way.
What Can Happen If You Are Over the Limit
If you are found to be over the legal limit or the roadside testing indicates you are under the influence of any substance, you will be taken to a police station. The authorities will also impound your vehicle. At the station, you will have the opportunity to contact a local Toronto DUI lawyer and have legal counsel present before any more questioning.
Remember that between the legal fees, court costs, and the impact on your auto insurance premiums, the cost to you can be in the thousands. If you have consumed a little too much, err on the side of caution and arrange for someone else to do the driving. In the long run, the decision will prove to be a sound one.