Most discussions of Canada’s drunk driving laws will include facts about legal alcohol limits. In Ontario, that limit is normally a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08. Get caught with that amount, and you’re in serious trouble. A BAC of .05 is the “warn range” – you’ll pay a fine and have to endure a 3-day driving suspension for a first offense.
However, for novice drivers, drinking and driving is an even more serious offense. If you don’t have a full driver’s licence, or you are under 21, you are not allowed to have any alcohol in your system while driving. Zero.
Should you be caught driving with any alcohol at all in your body and you have a G1, G1, M1 or M2 licence, or you are under 21, your licence is suspended immediately for 24 hours and your case goes to court.
If you are convicted,
- You pay a fee of up to $500.
- Your licence is revoked and you must apply for a new one, starting at the beginning of the GLS system.
Why is Ontario (and indeed, all of Canada) so tough on novice drivers? A number of reasons. Young drivers have less experience with alcohol and less experience driving, and are prone to greater risk taking and lapses in judgement. In fact, most drunk driving deaths occur in the under-21 range, because those drivers are more likely to be speeding and taking chances.
Ontario’s zero-tolerance laws are therefore necessary to protect both young drivers and everyone else on the province’s roads. If you’re a novice driver, don’t let these laws worry you. Just stay away from alcohol while driving, and make sure your friends do as well. If you and your friends have zero tolerance for alcohol, then the law won’t affect you. Problem solved.