By now, almost everyone has heard of ignition interlocks. Thanks to anti-drunk driving groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and lawmakers who support them, ignition interlocks have become one of the best tools the country can use to stop drunk drivers.
How do ignition interlocks work?
If you haven’t heard of ignition interlocks and you don’t know how they work, they’re easy to explain. A device that connects to your vehicle, it requires convicted drunk drivers to blow into a breathalyzer that tests blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you’re over a certain BAC limit, usually .02, your vehicle won’t turn on. If your BAC is free of alcohol, you’ll be able to drive as normal.
Where are ignition interlocks mandatory in Canada?
Many Canadian provinces have mandatory ignition interlock laws. Provinces like British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario all require first time drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock. Territories like the Yukon only have a voluntary ignition interlock program, so if you’re convicted of drunk driving there you can opt to install an interlock instead of waiting out your driver’s license suspension.
How long will you be required to use an ignition interlock?
The duration of an ignition interlock program depends on where the convicted drunk driver lives. Ontario’s Reduced Suspension program requires a one year term for first time drunk driving offenders, while Saskatchewan just passed a new law requiring second time offenders to use an ignition interlock for three years.
Harsh ignition interlock laws are one of the best steps province can take to protect its citizens from those who make the careless decision to drive drunk. By forcing a convinced drunk driver to prove they aren’t intoxicated each and every time they get behind the wheel, the question of “Am I sober enough to drive?” is taken away. That’s good news for all Canadian drivers.