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May 2009
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Drinking and Driving

Unfortunate but true it happens more often than it should. Ontario estimates that over the past decade over 2000 people have died due to impaired driving and over 50,000 people have been injured! But it’s not just those affected, both emotionally and physically, it is estimated that impaired driving costs the province $3billion annually.

The new laws
As of May 1st new legislation came into effect that should help to deter people from drinking and driving. Before May 1st if you were caught drinking and driving with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.5 and 0.8 you received a 12hr suspension, now the offence is much more serious.

  • First Time: 3-day licence suspension and a $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty
  • Second Time (within 5 years): 7-day licence suspension, Mandatory alcohol education program and a $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty
  • Third Time (within 5 years): 30-day licence suspension, Mandatory alcohol treatment program, Six-month ignition interlock licence condition and a $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 and a $150 Administrative Monetary Penalty

Not only that but instead of retrieving your license from the police station now if you are caught drinking and driving you have to go to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Licensing offices.

How do you know how much you can drink before driving?
The safest thing to do is have a designated driver that doesn’t drink. Of course this isn’t always the case. The way your body absorbs and handles alcohol varies amongst individuals; it is very difficult to assess your own BAC or impairment. Generally speaking impairment from drinking is affected by:

  • How fast you drink
  • Gender
  • Body Weight
  • Amount of food in your stomach
  • Tiredness
  • Mood

Last summer I lost my cousin in the horrific drinking and driving accident up in Muskoka. His fate was an unfortunate lesson to us all.

(More on the MTO news release can be found here and here)