Ontario to introduce legislation that increases penalties on impaired driving

The Ford government is touting its new impaired driving laws as the toughest in the country. As Tina Yazdani reports, impaired drivers could lose their licence for life, if they cause death.

By Meredith Bond

Impaired driving could cost you a lifetime licence suspension if new measures proposed by the Ontario government are passed.

In an effort to crack down on impaired driving, new legislation by the Ford government would impose stiffer penalties for those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Some of the measures include a lifetime licence suspension for those convicted of impaired driving causing death as well as anyone convicted of impaired driving would have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Immediate roadside licence suspensions would also increase for those with first- and second-time alcohol and drug-related offences, and they would have to undergo mandatory remedial education and treatment.

The legislation also clarifies police authority to stop vehicles and/or administer sobriety tests for drivers on or off the highway.

This comes as the OPP announced earlier this month that they would be conducting Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) “as part of every traffic stop.”

“Everyone deserves to return home to their loved ones safely at the end of the day,” said Ontario Minister of Transportation Prabmeet Sarkaria. “Too many families in Ontario have had their lives torn apart by the careless and shameful actions of impaired drivers.”

Province to assist police forces in detecting drug-impaired driving

Sarkaria is expected to make a formal announcement about the legislation on Wednesday morning.

In Ontario, one in three roadway fatalities involves impaired driving. Earlier this month, the OPP said impaired driving collisions and charges are up close to 30 per cent over the previous five-year average.

The province also will be working to provide additional tools and training to help police detect drug-impaired driving. There will also be a province-wide campaign to highlight the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

It comes as the percentage of drivers killed while under the influence of cannabis more than doubled between 2012 and 2020.

On Tuesday, Ontario announced that it was also introducing new measures in an attempt to diminish the increase in auto theft crimes across the province.

If passed, the legislation would mean anyone convicted of an auto theft crime could face a 10-year licence suspension for a first offence, a 15-year suspension for a second offence, and a lifetime suspension for a third offence.

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