Not all provinces in Canada make drunk driving prevention a priority, but Ontario does. The province has some of the country’s strictest drunk driving laws, including provisions for ignition interlocks, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
A number of provisions make Ontario’s ignition interlock laws notable:
All convictions. In Ontario, all DUI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater must use an ignition interlock when their licence is reinstated after a suspension. This includes first offenders, who must use the device for one year.
Increasing penalties. The period during which one must have the ignition interlock installed increases to 3 years for a second offense, and indefinitely for 3rd offenders – if their licence is reinstated after the 10 year suspension!
Repeat warnings. If a driver’s BAC registers in the “warn” range (.05 – .08), his or her licence will be suspended for 3 days. That goes up to 7 days for a second offense. For a third offense in the “warn” range, the driver must have an ignition interlock installed for 6 months.
Some offenders try to skirt the interlock requirement. As well as being illegal, this is unwise. Drivers caught without required ignition interlocks will have their vehicles impounded for seven days. The offenders will have to pay towing and storage fees, as well as any fines that are owed. The offense will also go on their driving record.
In addition, if you have failed to comply with the interlock requirement, either by not installing it, not having it brought in regularly for monitoring, or by driving another vehicle not equipped with an interlock, you can have another six months added to your program.
The only smart way to deal with an ignition interlock in Ontario is to have it installed, and use it properly for the period required. That’s the path that leads not only to an easier time for the offender, but safer roads for all.