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Ontario laws change to reduce accidents and personal injury in young drivers

Ottawa, Ontario Accident Lawyer David Hollingsworth – Ontario Personal Injury Lawyers … these are very important changes for all Ontario drivers…

WHO IS AFFECTED?

The provincial government of Ontario has recently changed the rules related to blood-alcohol restrictions for young and novice drivers in Ontario. Starting August 1st, 2010 – any drivers 21 years old and under must have absolutely zero blood alcohol levels if behind the steering wheel, regardless of their driver’s license category. Until now, the zero tolerance policy was only applicable to drivers with entry-level G1 and G2 class licenses.

WHAT IS ZERO BLOOD ALCOHOL?

The concept of zero blood alcohol does not mean that you must quit drinking or that you can never drink generally if you intend to drive. Rather, the concept has been introduced to safeguard our most precious commodity: life. The new rules are intended to prevent drinking and driving tragedies that have sadly become so common in our communities.

More specifically, your ability to metabolize alcohol is affected by a host of factors which include your age, gender, body size, amount of alcohol consumed, and the functional health of your liver. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it takes about 1 hour to metabolize 15 millilitres of alcohol (standard serving amount of a spirit, beer, or wine). As stated, however, this ratio fluctuates with each individual. Always plan ahead and play it safe when it comes to drinking and the prospect of getting behind the wheel. If you consume 4 drinks in 1 hour, it will take about 7 hours for your body to eliminate all of the alcohol. Your body does this by the liver, but also through excretion in your breath, urine, sweat, feces, milk, and saliva. A blood alcohol content of roughly 0.05 per cent would be registered 4 hours after consuming 4 drinks. A 0.05 blood alcohol content is significantly unsafe for driving.

Again, please keep in mind that these new legislative measures are designed to ensure for your own, and our collective, safety. As Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne has stated,  “What we’re trying to do is introduce sanctions that will educate drivers right up front so they get into good practices early on.” Individuals found in contravention of the new rules will face an immediate license suspension and the prospect of a further suspension of 30 days, in addition to a $500 fine.

WHAT ABOUT REPEAT OFFENDORS?

Escalating sanctions are built-in as part of the new rules in Ontario. According to Wynne, novice drivers who repeatedly violate traffic rules will be given a 30-day suspension for their first conviction, and will accumulate demerit points. A second conviction will result in a 90-day suspension, and then potentially the novice license could be cancelled, forcing the young driver to start all over again. “We’ve got to educate people about these dangers, and these sanctions are part of the education” Wynne states. Statistics show that drivers aged 19 to 21 are nearly 1.5 times more likely to be involved in drinking and driving accidents that involve death or personal injury.

SUMMARY

In short, the new rules in Ontario related to blood alcohol content and repeat offenders seem to be aimed towards a good cause, namely, to reduce the overall level of tragedy related to drinking and driving by (directly) helping impaired drivers change their behaviour to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders, and (indirectly) raising the level of awareness behind these issues so that we can all help to build better, safer communities to live.

 

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