Impaired Driving: Zero Tolerance for Young and Commercial Drivers

July 27, 2018 by Chris Bibey

Regardless of age, impaired driving is a serious criminal offence that can impact your life in a number of ways.

While there’s a lot to learn about impaired driving, there’s really only one thing you need to know: the best way to prevent trouble is to never get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol (or using any type of drug).

Young and Novice Drivers

Are you a driver under the age of 21? Are you a novice driver, regardless of age (meaning you have a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence)?

If you answered yes to either question, there’s a zero tolerance (or zero BAC) policy in regards to having alcohol in your system when driving.

This is in contrast to a maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 for fully licensed drivers.

Furthermore, starting on July 1, 2018, both young and novice drivers are prohibited from having any trace of drugs in their system that can be detected through an oral fluid screening device.

In simple terms, young and novice drivers have no leeway when it comes to operating a motor vehicle with alcohol and/or dugs in their system. Any trace, no matter how small the amount, is against the law.

Note: driving under the influence of over the counter medications or prescription drugs can also lead to potential criminal charges.

What About Commercial Drivers?

Commercial drivers share many of the same zero tolerance regulations as young and novice drivers. You should know if you fit into one of the following groups:

•    Driver of a vehicle requiring an A-F class licence
•    Driver of a vehicle requiring a Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration
•    Driver of road building machines

Just the same as young and novice drivers, July 1, 2018 was an important date for commercial drivers. These individuals are also subject to zero tolerance laws, meaning that they are not permitted to have any amount of alcohol or drugs in their system when operating a commercial vehicle.

As a commercial driver, a DUI conviction is a big deal on many levels. Not only can it result in a licence suspension and monetary fine, but it can also make it difficult to keep your current job or land a new one.

Your Auto Insurance Policy

In Ontario, every driver, regardless of age, must maintain the minimum level of auto insurance coverage.

As a young driver, you start with a clean record. However, if a DUI conviction comes into play down the road, it will impact your ability to purchase coverage at an affordable rate.