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Drunk Driving and Insurance Rates

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.

DUI Cases in Canada

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.

What is DUI?

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.

DUI Penalties

If found guilty of driving under the influence the convicted faces:

  • An automatic driving suspension
  • $1000 and 12 month driving prohibition for 1st offense
    30 days jail time and a 24 month driving prohibition for 2nd offense
  • 120 days of jail and 36 months license suspension
  • If no one is hurt or killed, the max sentence is 18 months unless by indictment whereby the maximum sentence is 5 years.
  • If another person suffers bodily harm because of the offense, the maximum sentence is 10 years in jail.
  • If another person is killed in the offense the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
  • An ignition interlock device will be installed on the impaired drivers vehicle for a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

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!

 

Do you understand no fault insurance. It’s a misleading term, because in the insurance industry, someone is always considered at fault in an accident. Although the police don’t charge you for a moving violation, you may be determined to be at fault.

Have you ever compared US auto insurance rates to Canadian rates? Can you really get the exact insurance you need by ordering insurance online? When you speak to an actual human being, you get informed, and discover what’s available a number of different insurance providers. That’s what smart shoppers do.

New car safety features are making a difference in accident free driving. Check out our top 7 car safety features post. Thinking of buying a new car? The cost, type of vehicle, cost to fix, etc. will have an effect on your insurance rates, so discover which are the most expensive and least expensive cars to  insure.

If you’re driving without insurance, the fines and penalties are harsh. Please don’t do that.

Check out the latest children’s safety seats and how to install them properly. The police may lay charges if your child’s seat isn’t fastened the right way.

Always get a quote from a local Markhham insurance broker before you consider keeping your old insurance rates.

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