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The Festive Ontario R.I.D.E. Program

Written by Richard J. Aitken, Lawyer.

It is that time of year again.  The police Festive R.I.D.E. program has arrived and will be with us until just after New Year’s.  Police strategies have recently changed.  No longer are the stops just in the evening and in the early hours of the morning.  Often they are mid-morning, catching the drivers who tried to sleep it off but are still over the legal limit come mid-morning.  Remember, it generally takes about two hours to burn off one standard drink and that is if you are a 150 pound male.  It often takes longer for females or those who weigh less than 150lbs.

Alcohol toxicologists believe that at least some of your motor skills required to operate a motor vehicle are affected even at low blood alcohol readings.  Government toxicologists say that, for some, it is as low as 20mg and for all, 50mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.  Defence toxicologists generally believe that impairment occurs at 100mg.

The safest strategy is simply not to drink alcohol.  However, that is an optimistic belief that everyone will do so.   A modified strategy might be to drink a shandy, which is half beer and half ginger ale or 7 Up (still a nice tasting drink) at the pace of perhaps one drink an hour or that you stop drinking after two or three drinks.  It is not safe to drink one drink an hour.  After 3 or 4 hours you may be well be over the legal limit.  In so many of Aitken Robertson’s cases, it is the very last drink consumed that puts the client over the legal limit.  Avoiding that last drink can also be effective.

Some clients who do drive and then realize that they are too drunk will pull over and sleep it off.  If they do so behind the driver’s seat, even if the keys are not in the ignition, they would likely be convicted of care and control which is just as bad as impaired driving.  Never remain in the driver’s seat.  Climb into the back seat. It would be even better to throw away the keys so there would be no risk of driving.

Of course the best choice is to enjoy yourself and take a cab home.

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