Ontario motorists woke up today to a new impaired driving regime. Police officers will now be able to demand a roadside breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver to determine whether a person has alcohol in their body without first having to suspect the motorist has been drinking. Until now, officers had to have a reasonable suspicion that a driver had alcohol in their body before demanding a sample.
Drivers need to be aware that it is mandatory for them to comply with this demand and that those who do not can be charged with failing or refusing to provide a breath sample.
Under the new legislation, drivers impaired by alcohol will also face higher mandatory minimum fines and some higher maximum penalties. (See penalties below).
OPP Interim Commissioner Gary Couture said,
The new mandatory alcohol screening serves as an important deterrent to drivers who are impaired by alcohol, including those who believe they can avoid detection by police. So far this year, alcohol and/or drugs have been a factor in the deaths of 41 people on OPP-patrolled roads. Every person who uses our roads has the right to be safe. The OPP fully supports this and any other legislation that enhances our ability to reduce the number of preventable deaths attributed to this deadly driving behaviour.”
The OPP has laid more than 7,300 impaired driving charges across the province between January 1 and mid-November, 2018.
If you suspect that a person is driving or about to drive impaired by alcohol or drugs, you should call 911 to report them to police.
Penalties for impaired driving as of December 18, 2018
Alcohol-impaired driving that does not cause bodily harm or death – mandatory minimum penalties:
- First offence + blood alcohol content (BAC) of 80-119 mg: mandatory minimum $1,000 fine
- First offence + BAC of 120-159 mg: mandatory minimum $1,500 fine
- First offence + BAC of 160 mg or more: mandatory minimum $2,000 fine
- First offence of refusal to be tested: mandatory minimum $2,000 fine
- Second offence: mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
- Third and subsequent offences: mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
OPP Highway Safety Division (2018, Dec.17) OPP commited to make roads safer with new impaired driving laws [Press release]
Featured photo courtesy The Record