Parliament Pushing For Tougher Drunk Driving Laws

Avoiding driving is your first line of defense. But if you've been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, contact Toronto DUI to be for a free consultation with an expert DUI lawyer (Toronto).

In 2009, Robert Solomon, legal policy director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) stated, "We have a terrible record in terms of impaired driving."

Canada, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ranks first in percentage of traffic deaths linked to alcohol impairment among 19 wealthy nations. Andy Murie, the CEO of MADD Canada, flatly stated, "The CDC does the best studies... It's a wake-up call."

Parliament has responded to this and mounds of other evidence by proposing new legislation aimed at cracking down on drinking and driving.

Drinking Related Laws in Other Countries

Random Breathalyzer Tests

Australia has enforced random breathalyzer tests (RBT) for 35 years. Their police annually wave millions to the side of roads to board booze buses where they blow into breathalyzers. In several European nations, RBT's were more recently adopted into practice. Evidence points to significant and sustained reductions in impaired driving fatalities wherever RBT is enforced.

Lower Blood Alcohol Limits

Research shows drivers are at least somewhat impaired at a .05 blood alcohol concentration. The legal blood alcohol limit in Canada is .08 percent. In many European countries and Australia, it is .05. The lower limit has successfully reduced fatal traffic accidents involving drunk drivers.

What new laws are under consideration?

In April 2017, parliament proposed legislation that would reform the entire impaired driving regime in the Criminal Code.

The following applies specifically to drunk driving:

1. Authorize mandatory alcohol screening at the roadside where police have already made a lawful stop.

  • Research shows that under the current law, many impaired drivers are able to escape detection at check stops.
  • Mandatory screening would help police catch more legally impaired drivers and reduce litigation regarding reasonable suspicion.

2. Increase certain minimum fines and certain maximum penalties.

  • Mandatory fines for first offenders with high BAC readings and for first offenders who refuse testing would increase.
  • The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing death would increase from 14 years to life in prison.

3. Facilitate investigation and proof of blood alcohol concentration

  • Would make proving BAC simpler by providing that the concentration at the time of testing is proven in the presence of certain conditions.

4. Eliminate and restrict defences that encourage risk-taking behavior and make it harder to enforce laws against drinking and driving.

  • Would eliminate the "drinking and dashing" defence. Instead of being "over 80mg per 100ml" at the time of driving, the offence will be "at or over 80ml" within two hours of driving.

Drinking and Driving – Toronto

If you are convicted of or plead guilty to impaired driving, over 80, and/or refusal in Toronto, you will automatically:

  1. be fined a minimum of $1,000.
  2. get a criminal record.
  3. lose your driver's license.

Further consequences include a possible jail or prison sentence.

Toronto DUI Is Here To Help

If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, you need to act quickly and meet with a Toronto DUI lawyer who can help you understand your specific legal options.

Please call us today to schedule a free consultation.