Despite warnings from police, media and friends, a certain number of Ontario drivers make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol. It’s a sad state of affairs.
The first drunk driving offense happened in Canada way back in 1920. Although some prosecutors wanted severe penalties for DUI charges, they’ve been generally lenient throughout the years. Penalties ranged from 1 week to 1 month in jail.
Drunk driving and other forms of impaired driving add significantly to the cost of insurance for Canadians.
Through the years of course, there have been horrific accidents that have claimed lives and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in medical bills. The aftermath of such accidents is a shock to emergency workers, police who attend the scene, and the victim’s families who receive the bad news. To reduce the prevalence of drunk driving, the laws have become more punitive, particularly in Ontario.
Yearly stats in Canada show 5300 DUI cases annually which amounts to about 12% of all criminal cases. Prosecutors have a 73% conviction rate in these cases, even though defendants hire lawyers to fight charge in court.
When a driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration above .08, they will face an impaired charge. Beginning or young drivers have a limit of .01 blood alcohol level. A person doesn’t have to be driving a moving car to be charged, just to be in care and control of a vehicle.
If a driver refuses a blood alcohol reading for police, then they will simply charge them with DUI.
If an officer in Ontario has the driver blow near the .08 BAC limit (or over .05) then he/she may suspend the driver’s license for 3 days. Subsequent incidents will result in suspensions of 7 to 30 days.
If found guilty of driving under the influence the convicted faces:
Armed with this information, it is imperative that you don’t drive after drinking even a bottle of beer or glass of wine. If you can find a BAC reading machine at a restaurant, try it out after having one drink. You can find cheap versions of a breathalzer device in retail stores. You may be surprised at how little alcohol can cause a .08 reading.
The reasoning is simple though. A driver needs a clear mind, clear senses, and good control over their vehicle when on Ontario roadways. It is for the safety of all who use the roads. Traffic is fast and congested with more stop and go travel than ever. Our first priority when traveling by car or truck is to get to our destination safely. No trip is worth dying for.
Drivers who show restraint and respect for the rights of others will rarely find themselves charged under the highway traffic act or the criminal code. They’ll also have the lowest insurance rates.
If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, it could raise your insurance rates by thousands depending on the incident. Or you may be refused auto insurance.
Let’s keep our roads safe!
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