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Ontario toughens impaired driving laws

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | May 11th, 2009



The Province of Ontario passed new impaired driving Bill 203, on May 1.

The Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act was passed in the province to toughen the laws currently circulating around drinking and driving offenses on Ontario roads.

As of May 1, the new level of alcohol was set to 0.05 per cent from 0.08 percent on all Ontario roads-and those caught exceeding the new limits will face a warning range having their license suspended for a minimum of three days.

“Starting May 1, if you blow a warning in a Breathalyzer test…you will get an immediate three day suspension,” said Sgt. Thomas O'Brien, picutured, of London Police Services.

The three-day suspension replaces the prior 12-hour license suspension previously ordered by London Police officers.

The good drivers…just drive MADD campaign emphasizes the importance for sober driving with a heart hitting message for all who occupy Ontario roads.

If a driver chooses not to learn from their previous penalty, and is caught for the second time, a 30- day suspension will be the norm and the ticketed individual will have to undergo a remedial alcohol treatment program.

If caught a third time, drivers will have an ignition interlock condition placed on their licenses for up to six months, no questions asked, stated O'Brien.

All drivers, if suspected of drinking and driving, will have to obey an officer and take a Breathalyzer test, said O'Brien.

“If they choose not to blow, it is going to be a criminal offense, O'Brien noted.

O'Brien suggested people just comply with officers and allow for the test to be taken.

Aside from stating there is a problem on the roads, O'Brien mentioned the newly proposed Bill 203 could not have come at a better time.

“There are literally thousands and thousands of violators every year,” said an outraged O'Brien, when asked about repeat offenders who don't get the picture from their first offense.

The new Bill 203 will enable London Police to crack down on repeat offenders and allow for tougher penalties, that, O'Brien stated, “Will really hit them (people) in their pocket books.”

Costs for repeat offenders will see drivers facing court and other fees upwards of $20,000 when engaging in impaired driving conditions, said O'Brien.

Over the weekend, the new “three-day” license suspension was used for the first time in London, according to London Police.

Three of the suspensions were doled out to motorists caught in the “warn” range BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration. Additionally, five motorists were for ticketed for impaired driving.

A 19 year-old male mounted the sidewalk and was involved in a collision, blowing three times the legal limit.

A 24 year-old female was pulled over by police for suspicion on impaired driving when she put her car in reverse and reversed into an officer's cruiser; A 48 year-old male operating a motorcycle without a motorcycle license was speeding down Dundas Street on Saturday afternoon. The driver was stopped for speeding and was impaired. He was two times over the legal limit.

New Bills circulating London roads are as follow:

Bill 118-Countering Distracted Driving-implementation is yet to be announced when Police will begin to crack down on drivers who choose to violate specific road safety conditions.

The Bill's purpose is to emphasize that all drivers must have their hands placed on the steering wheel at all times while traveling. Drivers who disagree with the future bill will be charged and ticketed accordingly.

Bill 126-Road safety Act-implementation date is yet to be announced, but it will focus primarily on careless driving, disobeying amber and red lights, and seat belt violations while traveling.
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