Drinking and Driving During the Holidays

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada (“MADD Canada”) estimates that 1,082 fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred in Canada in 2010 due to impaired driving. MADD Canada further estimates that approximately 63,821 injuries occurred in impairment-related crashes in 2010 (roughly 175 per day). Using a social cost model, impairment-related driving deaths, injuries and property damage crashes in Canada were estimated to have cost $20.62 billion in 2010.

With statistics like those quoted above, it is obvious that impaired driving remains a significant problem in Ontario. This problem becomes more acute during the Christmas holiday season because so many of us attend events where alcohol is served.

If you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is in the warning range of between 0.05 and 0.08 you face an immediate roadside 3-day driver’s licence suspension for the first offence. If you commit subsequent similar offences the length of the immediate roadside driver’s licence suspension increases and you will face additional penalties such as mandatory alcohol education programs and use of an Ignition Interlock device.

If you drive with a BAC of more than 0.08 you face an immediate roadside 90-day driver’s licence suspension and a conviction under the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code conviction will likely result in at least a 1-year driver’s license suspension, mandatory use of an Ignition Interlock device and significant fines. It may even result in a jail sentence. Driving-related Criminal Code convictions remain on a driver’s record for at least 10 years.

In addition, as of August 1, 2010, if you are a fully licensed driver who is 21 and under or a novice driver and are caught with any alcohol in your blood, you will receive an immediate 24-hour roadside driver’s licence suspension and, if convicted, you will face a fine of $60-$500 and a 30-day licence suspension.

This holiday season if you are planning on drinking alcohol please take a taxi, use a designated driver, or make arrangements to stay overnight.

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