Ontario’s Proposed New Graduated Licensing Laws: What It Could Mean For Your Teen

The Ontario government is currently debating a new law known as Bill 126, the Road Safety Act, 2008. This proposed law would amend the Highway Traffic Act to, among other things; impose a condition on the driver’s licence of all drivers under 22 years old that their blood alcohol concentration must be zero while driving. If a young driver were to contravene this condition the penalty would be a fine between $60 and $500 and a suspension of licence for up to 30 days.

If passed this new provision would be added to the existing graduated licensing system in Ontario. Currently a new driver must start by obtaining a Level 1 (Class G1) licence. While driving with a G1 Licence a novice driver must, among other things, have a zero blood alcohol level and drive only with a co-driver who has been licensed for at least 4 years and who holds a full Class G licence.

After driving for 12 months with a G1 licence the G1 driver can take a road test to get a level 2 (Class G2) licence. G2 licence holders are still required to have zero blood alcohol while driving. There are also restrictions on the number of passengers a G2 driver can carry between midnight and 5:00 a.m. After holding a G2 licence for 12 months the novice driver can take a second road test to get a full Class G driving licence.

The graduated licensing system in Ontario has reduced the amount of deaths and injury among novice drivers. Each year about 16,000 people are convicted of drinking and driving with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08 in Ontario. This is about 2 people per hour. As we all know, young people are among the most likely to fall victim to peer pressure and to make poor decisions when it comes to alcohol and driving. Clearly the proposed restrictions on alcohol consumption by young or novice drivers will only further reduce the amount of deaths and injury on the road. Please talk with your teen driver about the proposed new laws and the importance of refraining from alcohol if they are planning to get behind the wheel.

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