With holiday party season is in full swing, those who get behind the wheel after a few cocktails may want to think again, as much tougher drinking and driving laws are about to kick in this week.
As of Tuesday, December 18, stricter drunk driving laws will come into effect and now law enforcement will be able to demand a breathalyzer test from drivers they lawfully stop, even without reasonable suspicion that they have consumed alcohol.
A well used tool for police is about to get used even more. Part 2 of #BillC46 will become law on December 18. Mandatory Alcohol Screening is a big change to be aware of. message to drivers – If you drink and drive, expect to be stopped and tested ^bm https://t.co/URdZFZl7TY pic.twitter.com/t6QzMH3B5Y
— TPS Traffic Services (@TrafficServices) December 17, 2018
Up until now, extreme drunk drivers faced the same penalties as those who only slightly blew over. But now, according to Sergeant Brett Moore, a Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) will be done after the person is stopped lawfully by a police officer and refusal to submit a breath sample could lead to a criminal offence and a mandatory minimum $2,000 fine.
“Research suggests that up to 50% of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit are not detected at roadside checkpoints,” said Moore. “Mandatory alcohol screening will assist in deterring individuals impaired by alcohol from driving as well as better detect those who do.”
The new changes also focus on drug-impaired driving, giving police the authority to demand either a Standardized Field Sobriety Test or the use of oral fluid drug screeners.
If the presence of a drug is detected, young, novice and commercial drivers can be immediately suspended from driving. These drivers also have zero tolerance for alcohol.
Under Bill-C46, the mandatory fines for first offenders with high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) without causing bodily harm or death will also increase to:
- A first offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 80 to 119 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood is subject to the current mandatory fine of $1,000
- The mandatory minimum fine for a first offender with a BAC of 120 to 159 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood is raised to $1,500
- The mandatory minimum fine for a first offender with a BAC of 160 mg or over of alcohol per 100 ml of blood or more is raised to $2,000
- A first offender who refuses to comply with a lawful demand is subject to a $2,000 minimum fine
- Second offence is mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
- Third offence is mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
So far this year, the Toronto Police have charged over 900 people with an impaired driving offence.
Moreover, from Friday, December 14 at 6 pm until Monday, December 17 at 6 am, police have arrested 23 people for impaired driving offences.
From 6 pm Friday to 6 am Monday the @TorontoPolice arrested 23 people for Impaired Driving offences. Charges laid were:
1 Impaired by Drug
16 Impaired by Alcohol
19 Over 80MG Operation
3 Refuse Breath Sample
17 Warn range suspensions
Readings reached over 4.25 X the legal limit pic.twitter.com/qqBAL5m9Od
— Scott Matthews (@TPSTrafficDC) December 17, 2018
“The number is intolerable,” said Moore. “We also want to remind members of our community and partners that if you suspect an impaired driver on our roads, call 9-1-1.”