Zero tolerance rules for young drivers come into effect

Nick Seebruch
Zero tolerance rules for young drivers come into effect
Hard Liquor and Car Keys sitting on a Bar with Spilled Liquid.

ONTARIO – New provincial rules around impaired driving came into effect on July 1.

Drivers aged 21 and under now face a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving. That is to say, that drivers 21 and under must have a blood alcohol level of zero if they plan on getting behind the wheel.

“Starting July 1, 2018, young and novice drivers will also be prohibited from having any presence of cannabis in their system as well as other drugs that can be detected by an oral fluid screening device,” reads a statement on the provincial Ministry of Transportation’s website. “That means that Ontario will have a zero tolerance approach to both alcohol and drugs for all young and novice drivers. If police determine that you have the presence of cannabis or alcohol in your system and/or that you are impaired by any substance including illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, you will face severe consequences and potential criminal charges.”

This zero tolerance policy does not only extend to those 21 and under. Commercial drivers with A-F licenses will also be required to have no alcohol or cannabis in their blood before getting behind the wheel.

Young, novice and commercial drivers also now face new roadside penalties if they fail a sobriety test.

First offence

  • 3-day license suspension
  • $250 penalty (begins January 2019)

Second offence within 5 years

  • 7-day license suspension*
  • Mandatory education program programs (for a second occurrence within 10 years)
  • $350 (begins January 2019)

Third and subsequent offence within 5 years

  • 30-day license suspension*
  • You must attend a mandatory treatment program (for third and subsequent occurrences within 10 years)
  • You will be required to use an ignition interlock device for at least six months (for third and subsequent occurrences within 10 years)
  • $450 penalty (begins January 2019)
  • You will need to have a mandatory medical evaluation that could result in an extended license suspension. 

Drivers would also face a $198 reinstatement penalty for each offence and could face further penalties if convicted in court.

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