Drunk driving laws changing in Ontario for those under 21
Starting August 1 young drivers in Ontario will be facing tough anti-alcohol rules. Drivers 21 and under will be required to have a zero blood alcohol level when they get behind the wheel.
Under the new rules those who break the law will lose their licence immediately for 24 hours, have a 30-day licence suspension and be subject to up to $500 in fines.
Those in the graduated licensing system also face stricter penalties if they violate any condition of their licence and if they are convicted of any offense that carries four or more demerit points. Those penalties include 30-day licence suspension for the first instance, 90-day licence suspension for a second instance and cancellation of their licence from additional offences.
Every year in Ontario there are about 17,000 drivers convicted of offences ranging from impaired driving to manslaughter. It is estimated that three-quarters of those convictions are related to drinking before getting behind the wheel. Almost a quarter of the deaths that come from traffic accidents have alcohol as a factor.
Studies have found that those who are convicted of drunk driving are mostly males who drink heavily, have an “antisocial attitude” and have driven drunk many times before they have been arrested.
The Center of Disease Control in the United States
reports that in 2008 over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That number falls far below the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults annually listed in the study, Alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults, completed in 2002 and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005.
The youngest drivers are at a higher risk of driving while impaired according to the CDC along with those who have had prior drunk driving experiences. The CDC stated on their drunk driving fact sheet that one way to prevent deaths and injuries from drunk driving was to have zero tolerance laws for drivers younger than 21 years old in all states.