For Liberty’s sake: At least we aren’t Canadians: Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere

One of the great things that can be said about Americans and especially folks from Pennsylvania is that we enjoy our liberty.  We are a nation full of people who are free, in a large part, to do what we want free of government intrusion and government overreach into our private lives.

Canada, which is a fine country, and its motorists does not enjoy the same protection that we as Americans have against unwanted and baseless stops of motorists while about their way.

This leads me to write, at least in this one sense:  "For Liberty’s sake:  At least we aren’t Canadians:  Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere"

Harrisburg DUI Lawyer R_I_D_E_ program

(Pictured above:  actual R.I.D.E. enforcement)

In the effort to eradicate the dangers of dunk driving, which in itself is a laudable goal, the Canadians have settled the matter in favor of interrupting liberty of innocent motorists and allowing the government to totally intrude with no rational reason, basis or cause by stopping all vehicles for any or no reason whatsoever.

It is called the R.I.D.E program which stands for  "Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere" program.

I have written twice before on roadblocks:

The Canadian Approach:

The Canadian model is to stop nearly all cars with no level of suspicion of violation of the law, with no clues of impairment and even for no reason.  They set up trailers with Intoxilyzers, phones, etc.  Process, tow and release….

Reasonable suspicion of alcohol in the body results in a roadside demand. Refusal of the roadside demand is a criminal offense with the same penalty as over .08.

But is this a better and more effective method?

According to one newspaper coverage of the R.I.D.E. program (OPP Wraps up Festive R.I.D.E.):

[The] Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers were out in full force and checked over 1,174,224 vehicles on OPP patrolled roadways during this year’s Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) initiative.

This year’s initiative was conducted from November 27 through to January 4, 2010. In the process, OPP officers issued 432 administrative driver’s licence suspensions (ADLS) for criminal code related drinking and driving offences and a further 709 ADL suspensions for a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in the .05 and .08 range. OPP laid a total of 5,329 charges as a result of this year’s initiative, 298 of which were for impaired driving, over .08 BAC or for refusal to comply with a demand to provide a breath sample. The remaining 5,031 charges were for other Criminal Code, Highway Traffic Act, or Liquor Licence Act offences.

Comparatively, during the 2008 Festive R.I.D.E., OPP officers checked 884,729 vehicles, made 319 arrests for criminal code alcohol related offences and issued 1,137 ADL suspensions.

 So, let’s delve into these numbers a little…

2010 R.I.D.E. results- November 27 through to January 4, 2010

    Arrest Judgment    
    Test and Arrest Test and Release Totals
Actual BAC BAC >.08 (+) 298 0 298
  BAC <.08 (-) (innocent) 0  1,173,926 1,173,926
  Totals  298  1,173,926 1,174,224


  • The Base Rate to be derived from these statistics is calculated by dividing 298/1174224=.00025
  • False Positive Rate=False Positive(stops of sober people)/Sober=1.00-Specificity=1173926/1174224=.9997
  • Likelihood Ratio=1.0/.9997=1.0003
  • Efficiency of this method=Actual BAC greater than .08/Total number stops=298/1174224=.00171

With an overall efficiency rate of less than two percent (2%), it seems the answer is clear that it is not.  This method results in 99.97 percent (99.97%) false positive rate.



-Justin J. McShane, Esquire, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney

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Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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