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Changes to Ontario Law Make the Roads Safer from Drunk Drivers

The province of Ontario has always taken drunk driving seriously. For years, there have been very strict laws on the books that are intended to deter people from drinking and driving. But even with vigilance by the justice system, it seems as though some Ontario drivers are still pushing the envelope and getting behind the wheel when they are impaired.

To help reduce the instances of drunk driving, the Ontario lawmakers took a look at the penalties being handed out for drunk driving offenses and decided to break the penalties up based on the driver's age and driving experience. In 2007, the "Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act" created a set of guidelines designed to deter people from drinking and driving, including fines and license suspensions. In 2009, the "Road Safety Act" took things a step further and started to identify the offenders based on age and driving experience. The end result was a set of laws that are very tough on drunk driving and have done their part to make the roads safer in Ontario.

For an Ontario driver 21 years of age and younger, there is a zero tolerance policy created that automatically penalizes younger drivers who have any level of alcohol in their system. These penalties include:

  • A 24-hour suspension of the offender's license that starts immediately after the charge of driving under the influence is given. This penalty applies to all drivers age 21 and under, and there are no exceptions.
  • A financial penalty in the form of fines that can be as much as $500. The amount of the fine is at the discretion of the court. While the amount of the fine can vary, the offender can rest assured that some sort of financial penalty will be given.
  • Once the offender is found guilty in court, there is an automatic 30-day license suspension put into effect.

Drivers who are part of the graduated licensing system are not let off the hook. Drivers who are over the age of 21 are subject to severe drinking and driving penalties that include:

  • The first offense carries a 30-day automatic license suspension.
  • The second offense carries an automatic 90-day license suspension.
  • Repeat offenders run the risk of losing their licenses completely.

The law does allow for first-time offenders to get a measure of leniency from the courts. A first-time offender can keep his or her license if he agrees, at his own expense, to have an ignition lock installed on his or her vehicle that will allow the vehicle to be started only by someone who has no traces of alcohol on their breath.

These are some of the major steps that have been taken towards trying to rid the province of Ontario of all drunk drivers.


For assistance with a personal injury and/or insurance claim, please email David Himelfarb at or call 1-855-446-7765, for a free case evaluation.

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