Alcohol or drugs: Impaired is impaired

Zero Tolerance Penalties for Young and Novice Drivers

No drugs or alcohol permitted for drivers 21 and under and anyone with G1, G2, M1 or M2 driver licence.

Penalties for young and novice drivers
First Time Second Time Third Time
3-day immediate licence suspension 7-day immediate licence suspension 30-day immediate licence suspension
  • 30-day licence suspension, on conviction
  • $60-$500 fine, on conviction
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • $250 penalty
  • 90-day licence suspension on conviction for G1, G2, M1,M2 drivers or 30 day for fully licenced drivers 21 and under
  • $60-$500 fine,
    on conviction
  • Education or Treatment program
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • $350 penalty
  • Cancellation for G1, G2, M1, M2 drivers or 30-day licence suspension for fully licenced drivers 21 and under,
    on conviction
  • $60-$500 fine,
    on conviction
  • Education or Treatment program
  • Ignition interlock for six months
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • $450 penalty

NOTE: Young and novice drivers with higher impairment levels still face all of the consequences of fully licensed drivers.

Warn Range Penalties for All Drivers

  • With a Blood Alcohol Concentration between .05 - .08 (alcohol only)
  • Who fail the Standard Field Sobriety Test (alcohol and/or drugs)
Penalties for all drivers
First Time Second Time Third Time
3-day immediate licence suspension 7-day immediate licence suspension 30-day immediate licence suspension
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • $250 penalty
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • Education or Treatment Program
  • $350 penalty
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • Education or Treatment Program
  • Ignition Interlock for six months
  • $450 penalty

Plan ahead -- make sure you always have a plan to get home safely.

Impairment Penalties for All Drivers

  • With Blood Alcohol Concentration over .08 (alcohol only)
  • Fail or refuse to comply with a demand for alcohol or drug testing
  • Who fail test by Drug Recognition Expert (drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol)
Penalties for all drivers
First Time Second Time Third Time
Immediate 90-day suspension Immediate 90-day suspension Immediate 90-day suspension
  • 7-day Vehicle Impoundment
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • $550 penalty
  • 7-day Vehicle Impoundment
  • Education and Treatment Program
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • $550 penalty
  • 7-day Vehicle Impoundment
  • Education and Treatment Program
  • $281 licence reinstatement fee
  • Ignition Interlock for six months
  • $550 penalty

Additional consequences under the Criminal Code of Canada may apply.

Impaired driving hurts us all – through deaths, injuries and property damage, as well as costs for health care and emergency response services.

Driving impaired by alcohol, drugs or both is dangerous and against the law in Ontario. There are serious consequences:
  • Immediate driver licence suspension or even cancellation
  • Immediate vehicle impoundment
  • Fines and penalties
  • Criminal record
  • Alcohol and drug education or treatment program
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Jail time

An impaired driving conviction could cost $23,000 or more.

Most Ontario Drivers Are Not Impaired

85%

  • Ontario’s 2017 roadside survey found over 85% of drivers were drug and alcohol free.

90%

  • Nine-out-of-ten drivers in grades 10-12 reported they did not use cannabis before driving in the past year. (Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)

Driving on Drugs or Alcohol is Dangerous

52%

  • In 2015, 52% of Ontario drivers who died in collisions had drugs and/or alcohol in their system. (Source: Office of the Chief Coroner)

Every year, almost 11,000 drivers in Ontario are suspended for Criminal Code convictions related to impaired driving.

Drivers impaired by DRUGS face the same consequences as drivers impaired by ALCOHOL. This includes cannabis and other legal and illegal drugs and misuse of prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects related to driving when using prescription medication.

Read the information on the package of any prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, including natural, allergy and cold remedies. Drugs and alcohol together can impair your driving even more than either one alone.

Unpaid Driver Fines – if you have unpaid driver fines, your driver’s licence will be suspended and may be cancelled. You will be unable to renew your plates. For more information or to pay your fines, visit ServiceOntario.ca/payfines.

Myths and Facts: Impaired Driving

(Alcohol or Drugs)

Myth 01: It's safe to drive when I'm high on cannabis.

Fact: Research shows that driving a vehicle while high on cannabis doubles your risk of being in a collision.

Myth 02: A drink is a drink - for both men and women.

Fact: Gender, weight, age, mood and what you ate impacts how alcohol affects a person.

Myth 03: It’s my medicine, so it’s ok for me to take when driving.

Fact: Impaired is impaired, regardless of whether it is a prescribed medication, cannabis or another drug. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you are unsure how your medication could impair your driving.

Myth 04: Caffeine or food helps you sober up.

Fact: There are no tricks to speed up elimination of alcohol – only time will help you sober up.

Myth 05: I’m a better, less aggressive driver when I’m high.

Fact: Any substance that changes your mental state and provides a high, decreases driving performance by decreasing awareness of distance, timing and depth perception.

Myth 06: Police can’t tell if I’ve been smoking cannabis or doing other drugs.

Fact: Police utilize a 12-step process to detect the presence of drugs.

Myth 07: Using eye drops, mints and cologne will mask cannabis use.

Fact: Police examine the size of pupils and eye movement, that cannot be masked. The eyes
give you away.

Myth 08: Using cannabis edibles is the same as smoking or vaping.

Fact: Edibles can take longer for their effects to be felt and can lead to consuming higher doses, with unexpected side effects like severe anxiety, paranoia, fatigue etc..

Myth 09: Guests have been drinking and using drugs at my party, but once they leave it’s not my problem.

Fact: If your guests leave your home and drive while impaired, you can be held responsible if they injure themselves or someone else.

Myth 10: Using cannabis and alcohol together is the same as having a couple of drinks.

Fact: When taken together, cannabis and alcohol can result in unpredictable reactions increasing your risk of collisions.

NOTE: this information is only a guide. For official content, please refer to the Highway Traffic Act at Ontario.ca/Laws or visit Ontario.ca/DriveSober.

Impaired is

  • Impaired judgement
  • Impaired response time
  • Impaired ability to drive safely

For more information about driving safety, contact:

MTO Info General Inquiry:

1-800-268-4686 or
(416) 235-4686 in GTA

TTY Users:

1-866-471-8929 or
(905) 704-2426 in Niagara

Website:

Ontario.ca/DriveSober

November 2019

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