Ontario is making the province’s roads safer for all Ontarians with new changes that will help protect young and novice drivers.
Starting Aug. 1, all drivers 21 years of age and younger must have a zero blood alcohol level when they get behind the wheel or face:
•an immediate 24-hour licence suspension;
•30-day licence suspension; and
•up to $500 in fines.
Drivers in the Graduated Licensing System will face tougher penalties if they violate the conditions of their licence or if they are convicted of any Highway Traffic Act offences that carry four or more demerit points.
•a 30-day licence suspension for the first instance; and
•a 90-day licence suspension for a second instance.
Further instances can lead to a cancellation of the licence and other penalties.
As well, effective Aug. 3, eligible drivers convicted of an impaired driving offence for the first time will be able to reduce their licence suspension if they agree to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle, at their own cost.
This will help impaired drivers change their behaviour to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
These changes are part of the Road Safety Act 2009 and 2007’s Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act.
“We put the Road Safety Act in place to protect young drivers and everyone who shares the road with them,” said Transportation minister Kathleen Wynne.
“Our novice drivers deserve our help to prepare them for a lifetime of safe driving,” she added.
“Ignition interlock devices will make Ontario’s roads safer by encouraging drivers who have offended to adopt more responsible behaviour and by reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road,” noted Attorney General Chris Bentley.
“Extending the zero BAC requirement gives young drivers the chance to gain more driving experience without taking unnecessary risks,” said MADD Canada national president Margaret Miller.
“This will reduce impaired driving deaths and injuries among young drivers, and promotes safe and responsible driving habits,” she noted.
The peak ages of drinking-and-driving collisions are 19, 20, and 21.
In Ontario, 235 drivers age 21 and under were killed in drinking-and-driving collisions in the latest 10-year period for which statistics are available.
Crashes involving drivers suspended for a drinking-and-driving conviction are 3.4 times more likely to be fatal.