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Ontario Impaired Driving Penalties Got Tougher

What is impaired driving?

Impaired driving is the leading cause of injury and death on the roads of Canada. Let's take a closer look on what is impaired driving and Ontario's new regulations towards it.

The Ministry of Transportation defines it this way:

Impaired driving means operating a vehicle (including cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

As the countdown to the legalization of recreational pot in Canada next July gets closer, Government has committed to establishing stronger laws to punish more severely violators. It is also very important that this law enforcement takes place before actual marijuana legalization occurs. Moreover, the entire impaired driving regime would become the strongest in the world where cannabis is legal. To support legal measures, the Government will run educational public awareness campaigns. these initiatives will help to inform Canadians about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs. It will also work closely with Canada's administrative units to effectively train and equip law enforcement.

What are the penalties for it?

Government will have zero tolerance for violators, including those who are 21 years old and under, novice drivers and commercial drivers. 

There is a big possibility you will just get caught. A drug screening device, that will be approved soon, will test the driver's saliva on the level of intoxication.

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are:

  1. Increase of monetary penalties which are applied to sanctions.

  2. Drivers found to be in the warn range (Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) between .05 and .08) or drug-impaired drivers who fail a roadside Standardized Field Sobriety Test would face: Licence suspensionMonetary penaltyOther penaltiesFirst occurrence3 days*$250Mandatory education or treatment programs, and an ignition interlock requirementSecond occurrence7 days*$350Third and subsequent occurrences30 days*$450

impaired driving
  1. Alcohol impaired drivers (BAC above 0.08), drug-impaired drivers (as determined by an evaluation from a drug recognition expert) and any drivers who fail or refuse to submit to tests under the Criminal Code would face:Licence suspensionMonetary penaltyOther penaltiesFirst occurrence90 days*$550Mandatory education or treatment programs, and an ignition interlock requirementSecond occurrence90 days*$550Third and subsequent occurrences90 days*$550

Tips for avoiding impaired driving:

  1. if you are taking any prescribed medication, make sure to ask your doctor about  side effects related to driving

  2. make sure you have a safe plan to get home

  3. if you know you are going to a party where you will consume any alcohol or drugs, don't take the car with you. Instead, taxi will drive you home safe and sound

  4. Remember, fatigue and stress will also affect your ability to drive safely.

Don't forget to take a look at our past blog post on penalties for distracted driving. Follow us for up-to-date and relevant information!

From our caring MSL team: please, drive safe.


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