Impaired Driving Laws Are Changing In Ontario

If you are caught in Ontario driving impaired on Friday the laws will be stricter than they are today. If you value your licence be wise, don’t drink and drive.

From May 1 if you are stopped with a blood alcohol concentration from 0.05 to 0.08 your licence can be suspended right there for three days for a first occurrence, seven days for a second occurrence and 30 days for a third or subsequent occurrence. The judge won’t be involved. Bottom line, you drink, you drive, you lose.

The Ministry of Transportation’s web page gives Ontarian a clear view of what the new laws are.

Consequences for Driving with a 0.05 to 0.08 “Warn Range” Blood Alcohol Concentration

First Time

* 3-day licence suspension
* $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

Second Time (within 5 years)

* 7-day licence suspension
* Mandatory alcohol education program
* $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

Third Time (within 5 years)

* 30-day licence suspension
* Mandatory alcohol treatment program
* Six-month ignition interlock licence condition
* $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

Subsequent infractions (within 5 years)

* 30-day licence suspension
* Mandatory alcohol treatment program
* Six-month ignition interlock licence condition
* Mandatory medical evaluation
* $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

If you are stopped don’t bother calling a lawyer, they can’t stop your licence suspension. When the police nab you on the road there is no appeal process. Each suspension will be recorded on your driver’s licence. For the next five years you will be considered when determining consequences for subsequent infractions.

You will be given a suspension notice by a police officer, indicating that the suspension of your licence takes effect immediately. The police officer will take your licence from you and send it back to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

If the police send your licence to the MOT a reinstatement notice will be mailed to you. The notice will include a Temporary Driver’s Licence as long as nothing shows up when they run your licence. You can take your paper temporary licence to a a Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office to pay the $150 administrative monetary penalty. Your new plastic card will then be mailed out to you.

If you do not get the reinstatement in the mail you mail obtain a TDL from a Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office.

If your licence has been suspended for 30 days you will not be allowed to drive any vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device installed. The in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02 (i.e., 20 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood).

In Ontario about 17,000 drivers are convicted of Criminal Code of Canada offences every year. These offenses range from impaired driving, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08, criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death, manslaughter, dangerous driving and failure to remain at the scene of a collision. The largest amount (about 3/4) of these crimes are a result of drinking and driving. One fourth of deaths that occur on Ontario roads are a result of drinking and driving. In 2005 174 people died because of a drunk driver and 3,852 more were injured by those drivers.

The smartest thing to do is not drink at all if you plan to be driving home.

So why was the ‘warn range’ changed? Drivers will a BAC above 0.05 but still below 0.08 are 7.2 times more likely to be in a fatal accident than drivers with a 0 BAC.


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