Novice/Young Driver’s in Ontario Can No Longer Drink & Drive (Aug.1/10)

Update: see previous posts – June 24, 2009 Bill 126, Road Safety Act, 2009 ; May 1, 2009 Drinking and Driving Laws Implemented in Ontario on May 1, 2009 (Bill 203) ; December 10, 2008 Facebook Protest Convinces Premier to Drop Restrictive Changes to Young Drivers in Ontario

In the Province of Ontario starting on Sunday, August 1, 2010 the new rules for Novice Drivers (a new driver of any age, will also be subject to the “no drinking” rule until they get their G licence, which can take up to two (2) years to achieve) and Young Driver’s (young being defined as anyone under the age of twenty two (22) years of age) surrounding drinking and driving take effect. Novice and young driver’s will not be able to drink at all while driving (or have any alcohol at all in their system ) and those who do, risk serious consequences.

This is a news release from the Ontario Government’s  NEWSROOM:

McGuinty Government Implements New Drinking And Driving Measures

Ontario is making the province’s roads safer for all Ontarians with new changes that will help protect young and novice drivers.

Starting August 1:

  • All drivers 21 years of age and younger must have a zero blood alcohol level when they get behind the wheel or face:
    • An immediate 24-hour licence suspension
    • 30-day licence suspension
    • Up to $500 in fines
  • Drivers in the Graduated Licensing System will face tougher penalties if they violate the conditions of their licence or if they are convicted of any Highway Traffic Act offences that carry four or more demerit points. Penalties include:
    • 30-day licence suspension for the first instance
    • 90-day licence suspension for a second instance
    • Further instances can lead to a cancellation of the licence and other penalties.

Also, effective August 3, 2010 eligible drivers convicted of an impaired driving offence for the first time, will be able to reduce their licence suspension if they agree to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle, at their own cost. This will help impaired drivers change their behaviour to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.

These changes are part of the Road Safety Act 2009 and 2007’s Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act and will help keep drivers safe on Ontario roads.

This means that initially, the O.P.P and other police forces will be performing “blitzes” in this regard.  Driver’s should be aware of the following:

Novice Drivers and Young Drivers must drive without any alcohol in their system. If they fail to do so, they will be looking at a fine of anywhere between sixty dollars ($60.00) and five hundred dollars ($500.00) if convicted of violating this new section 44.1 of the H.T.A. A young driver is defined as a driver younger than twenty-two (22) years of age. If a young driver is pulled over and it is discovered that he/she has any alcohol in their system, they will be charged and in addition to the fine reflected above, upon conviction, their driver’s licence will be suspended for thirty (30) days. Novice driver’s, upon conviction will be fined and could have their licence cancelled, reclassified or suspended.

A new section, section 48.2.1 has been introduced through this Bill, in the H.T.A. and section 48.2.1 authorizes an administrative driver’s licence suspension of a Young Driver, driving with alcohol in his/her system. If a police officer requests a Young Driver’s breath sample and the test of the sample indicates the “Presence of Alcohol” in his/her system or if the Young Driver refuses a request for a breath sample, his or her driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of twenty four (24) hours. If the same sample of breath indicates a “Warn” or “Alert” the Young Driver’s driver licence would be suspended. The suspensions would get progressively worse.  The first suspension would be a three (3) day suspension, the second suspension would be a seven (7) day suspension and the third suspension would be for a period of thirty (30) days.

See prior study in regard to young people drinking and driving.

No doubt governments across North America will now look to reducing or eliminating driver’s privileges who are operating motor vehicles while under the influence of prescription drugs. In response to some of these concerns, the New York Times released an article on July 24, 2010 “Drivers on Prescription Drugs Are Hard to Convict.

According to  2007 survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which screened 5,900 night time drivers around the country; 16.3 percent of the these night time drivers tested positive for legal or illegal drugs.

Update:
July 31, 2010 – Alcohol impairs young driver’s more than experienced ones.

August 2, 2010 – Two Young Driver’s Charged in the first few hours of the new law.

August 3, 2010 – Police nab just one Novice motorist in GTA under new law (within minutes of the law coming into effect

August 3, 2010 – Kevin Wiener, 20, will initiate a Charter challenge on Wednesday to the Province’s zero-tolerance drinking legislation (in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice) for drivers aged 21 and under (based on section 15 of the Charter).
He is relying on Section 15 of the Charter (the Equality Rights Section):
Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law:
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

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3 comments

  1. Hi Brian:
    The plaintiff in this suit is challenging the law under section 15 of the Charter. Kevin Wiener isn’t just complaining about this new law, he is taking positive steps to challenge it in the Superior Court.
    I understand that the suit will go to the Superior Court on November 1, 2010 – it would be great if many others who are either adversely affected by the law or who disagree with the government’s latest traffic laws (affecting two groups of people – driver’s under 22 years of age and novice driver’s) show up to this hearing and support the lawsuit and Kevin Wiener’s attempt to challenge McGuinty’s latest rule of the road.
    The Court I understand is located at the following address:

    Toronto Courthouse
    393 University Ave. -10th Fl.
    Toronto ON M5G 1E6

    See: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=393+University+Avenue,+Toronto,+Ontario,+Canada&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=26.731396,79.013672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=393+University+Ave,+Toronto,+Toronto+Division,+Ontario,+Canada&ll=43.653901,-79.387765&spn=0.011892,0.038581&z=15&layer=c&cbll=43.653605,-79.387614&panoid=_IJktTJaFwQxuUgqOklECw&cbp=12,77.51,,0,-3.48

    Civil – Superior Court of Justice tel. 416-326-4230
    Enforcement – Superior Court of Justice tel. 416-327-5600
    Family – Superior Court of Justice tel. 416-327-2064
    Accessibility Site Coordinator tel. 416-327-6462

  2. Welcome to our full fledged Nanny State.
    Think of this: Have as much as a “thimble” of alcohol if you’re under twenty-two at a family and/or other event, drive, and you are subject to charges under the Highway traffic Act.
    Support the Charter challenge…………………this is nothing more than age discrimination.
    If you’re under 22, you do not possess the intelligence to have one drink and drive.
    Next time you receive on of those glossy LCBO brochures, think of who is the primary target groups on their so called “lifestyle” adds.
    Everything this provincial government seems to do is full of contradictions.

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