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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Taking Impaired Drivers Off the Road

TORONTO — The Ontario government is cracking down on impaired driving by introducing legislation that, if passed, would impose stiffer penalties for those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs – including a lifetime licence suspension for those convicted of impaired driving causing death.


“Everyone deserves to return home to their loved ones safely at the end of the day,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation. “Too many families in Ontario have had their lives torn apart by the careless and shameful actions of impaired drivers. That’s why our government is introducing tough new measures, including lifetime licence suspensions, that will protect families and keep our communities safe.”


Additionally, the government will require anyone convicted of impaired driving to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and undergo mandatory remedial education and treatment for first and second-time alcohol and drug-related offences respectively.

“Mothers Against Drunk Driving commends the Ontario government for taking steps to make roads safer and hold impaired drivers accountable,” said Steve Sullivan, CEO of MADD Canada. “Despite progress, too many people are still making the choice to drive impaired, and we need to ensure sanctions hold drivers accountable while focusing on reducing recidivism.”


The proposed legislation would also increase immediate roadside licence suspensions for first and second-time alcohol and drug-related offences and clarify police authority to stop vehicles and/or administer sobriety tests for drivers on or off the highway.


In response to increasing instances of cannabis-impaired driving, the government will also work to provide additional tools and training to help police officers detect drug-impaired driving and launch a province-wide campaign to highlight the dangers of drug-impaired driving, with a focus on cannabis and young drivers.


Quick Facts


  • In Ontario, one in three roadway fatalities involves impaired driving.

  • A 2022 roadside survey found that one in five drivers tested positive for drugs, alcohol, or both.

  • The percentage of drivers killed while under the influence of cannabis more than doubled between 2012 and 2020.

  • Ignition interlocks are in-car alcohol breath screening devices that prevent the vehicle's engine from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s system.

  • For alcohol and drug-related offences, the province is proposing to increase the first and second-time roadside licence suspensions from three and seven days to seven and 14 days, respectively.

  • To keep communities safe, the Ontario government is also cracking down on auto theft by introducing legislation that, if passed, would suspend driver’s licences for people convicted of the crime.


Quotes


"Good Roads supports the Ontario government’s proposed measures to combat impaired driving. Reckless motorist behaviour such as speeding and impaired driving are on the rise, and penalties must increase to serve as an effective deterrent. Our municipal members are pleased by the province's proactive approach to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads."


- Scott Butler

Executive Director, Good Roads


"The Ontario Road Builders’ Association welcomes today’s important announcement to strengthen impaired driving rules in the province. We are pleased to see the Ontario government prioritize road safety to ensure Ontarians, including the over 56,000 workers in our industry, return home safely to their families and loved ones every day."


- Walid Abou-Hamde

Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Road Builder’s Association


"This proposed legislation will toughen penalties for all impaired driving and save lives. Paramedics know all too well the catastrophic injuries and tragic deaths on Ontario’s roads caused by alcohol and drug-impaired driving."


- Michael Sanderson

President of the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs and Chief of Hamilton Paramedic Service


"arrive alive DRIVE SOBER supports ignition interlock as a mandatory licence reinstatement condition for convicted impaired drivers. We encourage all drivers and vehicle owners to be aware of all the consequences of impaired driving and plan accordingly. And given that impaired driving seems to be on the rise, arrive alive DRIVE SOBER asks all road users to report erratic and unsafe driving when observed on our roads by calling 9-1-1."


- Anne Leonard

President of arrive alive DRIVE SOBER


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