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There are about 13,000 drinking and driving convictions recorded annually in Ontario. Approximately eighty per cent of convicted drinking drivers are first-time offenders.
Ontario's measures to combat drinking and driving include increased suspension periods for repeat offenders, a remedial measures program, an Ignition Interlock program and vehicle impoundment for those who continue to drive while suspended and those who drive without the required ignition interlock device.
Drivers will be subject to Ontario's Ignition Interlock Program if they are:
The Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program will allow eligible drivers convicted for a first time of an alcohol-impaired driving offence under the Criminal Code on or after August 3, 2010 to reduce their licence suspension in return for meeting specific requirements, such as the mandatory installation of an approved ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Program participants must abide by the program's conditions and requirements for ignition interlock installation and use. More details on the new program are available here.
An ignition interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02 (i.e., 20 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood). The device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver's seat, and is connected to the engine's ignition system.
Before starting the vehicle, a driver must blow into the device. If the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the pre-set limit, the vehicle will not start.
Once the vehicle is started, the interlock device requires the driver to provide breath samples at random pre-set times while the engine is running. If a sample is not provided, or if the BAC exceeds the limit, the device will issue a warning, record the event and activate specific alarm systems (e.g., lights flashing, horn honking, etc.), until the ignition is turned off.
Drivers will be subject to Ontario's Ignition Interlock Program if they are:
After serving the provincial sanctions, including licence suspensions and a mandatory remedial measures program, all drivers convicted of drinking and driving offences that are eligible to have their driver's licence reinstated will have an ignition interlock condition ("I") placed on their Ontario driver's licence:
Drivers who choose to drive while their licence is subject to an ignition interlock condition must register with an approved interlock service provider to have the ignition interlock device installed. The device must be inspected regularly by the service provider.
Drivers who choose not to install an interlock device must not drive until the condition is removed from their licence.
Drivers that are:
must have the ignition interlock device installed after their licence is reinstated if they want to drive. Individuals can choose not to drive until the ignition interlock condition is removed from their licence.
The device is not removable (it is connected to the engine's ignition system) and must be used by anyone who drives the vehicle, including family and friends.
An application form to have the condition removed will be mailed to drivers 15 days prior to their condition removal date. Drivers may also complete an application form at a Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office
Drivers convicted of impaired driving must apply to the Ministry of Transportation to have the condition removed from their licence.
If the driver has completed the minimum period (one year for a first offence or three years for a second offence) without any program violations (tampering/driving without/missed appointment with service provider), the ignition interlock condition will be removed.
Third-time offenders will have the condition on their licence indefinitely if it is reinstated after a minimum 10-year suspension.
Removal does not apply to fourth-time offenders, as their licence will never be reinstated.
Violations during the installation period will be reported and will result in extending the amount of time the licence will be subject to an ignition interlock condition.
If the driver does not apply for removal of the licence condition, it will remain on the licence. As long as the condition remains on the licence, the driver will only be able to drive vehicles that are equipped with an approved ignition interlock device, or be subject to penalties under the Highway Traffic Act.
Drivers who are suspended for registering a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 to 0.08 three or more times in a five-year period do not need to apply to the Ministry of Transportation to have the condition removed from their licence.
If the driver has completed the minimum 6-month period without any program violations (tampering with the interlock device, driving a vehicle without one installed, or missing an appointment with the interlock service provider), the ignition interlock condition will be removed. Violations during the installation period will be reported and will result in extending the amount of time the licence will be subject to an ignition interlock condition.
Drivers who have an ignition interlock installed by the service provider are required to sign a participant agreement acknowledging the terms and conditions of the installation.
Drivers who operate a motor vehicle in violation of an ignition interlock licence condition, will have their vehicle impounded by police for a period of 7 days and may be subject to further charges under the Criminal Code (Canada) (CCC) or Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Those who drive while their licence is suspended for a CCC conviction, will have their vehicle impounded for a period of 45 days for a first impoundment, 90 days for a second impoundment and 180 days for a third or subsequent impoundment, and may be charged with a further offence under the CCC or HTA.
Ignition Interlock violations for tampering, missed appointments or driving without a device will be reported to the Ministry of Transportation. This includes Highway Traffic Act convictions and reports of tampering from the service provider. Program violations will increase the amount of time the condition remains on the licence.
Drivers convicted of driving without an ignition interlock or for tampering with the device will face fines under the Highway Traffic Act ranging from:
Vehicle owners who knowingly allow a person with an ignition interlock condition to drive their vehicle may also be convicted under the Highway Traffic Act.
Drivers subject to an ignition interlock condition are responsible for all installation and maintenance costs for the device.
The service provider will provide related information, including fees, when a driver registers for the program. For installation information and costs, please call one of Ontario’s approved Service Providers:
1 A LifeSafer of Canada, Inc. at 1-888-769-6080 or;
ALCOLOCK Canada Inc. at 1-866-OK-TO-DRIVE or 1-866-658-6374.
For installation, please call one of Ontario’s approved Service Providers:
1 A LifeSafer of Canada, Inc. at 1-888-769-6080 or
ALCOLOCK Canada Inc. at 1-866-OK-TO-DRIVE or 1-866-658-6374
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For more information contact the Ministry of Transportation: 1-800-387-3445 or 416-235-2999 or click on Ontario.ca/drivesober