Impaired driving is a serious offence that can come with long-lasting consequences. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, but others on the road, as well. On top of this, impaired driving convictions can also affect your ability to receive good rates on your auto insurance. The consequences will be drastic if you have been caught drinking/smoking and driving. From facing higher premiums and being required to get high-risk insurance to even being denied coverage altogether, the consequences are very real. In order to avoid these risks, it is important to stay informed. Knowing the legal Ontario BAC Limit (Blood Alcohol Concentration), and the penalties involved, can help you stay safe.

What is impaired driving?

In order to properly avoid any incidents, it is crucial to know what impaired driving is. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, impaired driving is “operating a vehicle while your ability to do so has been compromised by the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two.” It is important to note that this does not just refer to cars and trucks, but any type of off-road vehicle or boats, as well. Ontario records some of the lowest number of DUI’s in Canada. However, alcohol-impaired driving remains one of the leading causes of road-related fatalities in the province.

What is the Ontario BAC Limit?

In order to properly avoid any incidents, knowing what the legal Ontario BAC limit is important. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for fully-licenced drivers in Ontario is 0.08% or 80 mg of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood. If you are caught driving with a BAC limit that is higher than that, you can face criminal charges, licence suspensions and fines.

However, just being below 0.08% doesn’t mean you’re always safe, either. Drivers that are caught with a compound BAC between 0.05% and 0.08% may also face consequences. This is what is known as the ‘warn range‘. If you are caught within the warn range and fail a Standard Field Sobriety test, you may face a three to 30 day licence suspension and a penalty of up to $450, depending on if it’s your first offence or not.

Ontario BAC Limit for young and new drivers

When it comes to the BAC limit rules for young and new drivers in Ontario, they are much more strict. This is because Statistics Canada found that drivers between the ages of 20-24 recorded the highest number of impaired driving incidents with 480 incidents for every 100,000 drivers. Due to this, Ontario has created a zero-tolerance policy for drivers ages 21 or under. This is also true for any drivers who hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence i.e. are not fully-licenced. This means that the Ontario BAC limit for young and new drivers is anything above zero. In short, young and new drivers cannot drive with any alcohol in their systems.

Ontario BAC Limit for commercial drivers

When it comes to commercial drivers, the BAC Limit is the same as a young or new driver. This means that if you are in possession of an A-F licence, or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR), you cannot have any traces or alcohol or drugs in your system when operating a commercial vehicle. If caught not complying, a commercial vehicle driver can face a three-day immediate licence suspension and up to $450 in fines. On top of this, they will most likely be sent to a drug and alcohol treatment program, and have to pay money to have any lost licences reinstated.

What are the penalties for driving under the influence or above the BAC limit?

In order to combat impaired driving, strict laws have been put in place within Ontario. Those who are caught driving under the influence can face a variety of consequences, including:

  • Licence suspension
  • Fines and reinstatement fees
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Enrollment into education programs and/or treatment facilities
  • Jail time

Generally, the severity of the driver’s penalty is dependent on the driver’s BAC limit. Additionally, age, licence type, and the number of substances found in their system are considerd as well. If a driver is caught on more than one occasion, they can face harsher penalties and risk losing their licence altogether.

When caught driving under the influence, your consequences will stay with you over time. These charges can remain on one’s driving record for up to three years. On top of this, a conviction can stay on your criminal history for up to 10 years!

Will impaired driving affect my insurance?

Impaired driving will likely impact your current policy, as well as your ability to obtain auto insurance in the future. When you’re hit with an impaired driving charge, your insurance provider has the right to completely cancel your policy. If they choose to do so, they may also label you as a high-risk driver, which will raise your premium rates significantly. These convictions will result in you paying up to five times more on auto insurance premiums than drivers with clean driving records. The spike in insurance costs generally are due to the fact that insurance companies assume people driving under the influence are likely to be repeat offenders.

Staying sober on the road is crucial when it comes to keeping yourself and others safe. If you are a high-risk driver, or even just someone looking for new insurance, remember to check out isure. Request a quote or contact us today!

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