The RIDE checkpoint is one of the most important ways police officers stop drunk driving in Ontario. RIDE, also known as Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere, are checkpoints that can show up at any time of the year in any location. Police try to show up in areas that would net the most impaired drivers, but they like to use the element of surprise too.
If you’re driving in Ontario, there are a few things you should and shouldn’t do if you’re approaching a RIDE checkpoint.
Do take a breathalyzer test if you’re asked to
If you’re suspected of drunk driving in Ontario, an officer at a RIDE checkpoint will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you say no because you’re worried you’re over the legal limit, you may want to rethink that decision.
In Ontario like in most provinces, you can be charged for refusing the breathalyzer, and that refusal comes with penalties including a driver’s license suspension and fines up to $2,000.
Don’t turn around when you see a RIDE checkpoint
You’ve had a few to drink and as you turn a corner you see a RIDE checkpoint in front of you. Panicking, you consider turning around or backing up, but that really isn’t a great idea. Police are looking for people who make U-turns to avoid RIDE stops, and there’s always a backup squad car waiting in the area in case they need to pursue someone.
Don’t park your car and offer the officer pizza
Yes, a drunk driver actually parked his car in a nearby driveway, walked up to an officer working at a RIDE checkpoint, and offered him pizza. Police spotted him driving in the area before he parked, so when he approached they asked him to take a breathalyzer test.
He was charged with drunk driving, and because he was just slightly over the legal limit of .08, the judge in his case fined him $1,000 and suspended his driver’s license for one year.
RIDE checkpoints are set up to protect drivers, and the last thing police want is to be distracted so a drunk driver slips through the cracks and kills someone. As the holiday season approaches and law enforcement flood the roads with RIDE checkpoints, keep one thing in mind: the only thing police want is for you to drive sober.