Alcohol and Road Safety: Everything You Need to Know

Nowadays, around 80% of Canadians drink alcohol, many of which to celebrate a wedding or a birthday, for example. However, one must know the risks when drinking alcohol.

For information purposes, know that 40% of the death occurring on Canadian roads are due to alcohol. This point raises a lot of questions such as: what is driving while impaired? What are the consequences on road safety? What are the sanctions? Here is everything you need to know.

Alcohol and road safety

In Quebec, even though the blood alcohol concentration tolerated when driving is 0.08, one must know that zero tolerance applies to drivers under 22, young drivers and probationary licence.

At this stage, it is important to know that these rules apply to individuals driving a car, a motorcycle or even a tractor. But, why do we have those restrictions? Alcohol consumption causes a lot of side effects such as drowsiness, slow reaction time, reduced concentration, decreased senses (vision, hearing) or a lack of coordination.

The consequences can be devastating because a person under the influence of alcohol can forget to buckle his seat belt, speed or lose control of his vehicle. He then not only puts his life in danger, but also other people’s lives.

Thus said, even though the blood alcohol concentration tolerated when driving is 0.08, know that the definition of driving with reduced aptitudes is broader. As a matter of fact, the weight of a person, his health condition, his level of fatigue, age or stress are all parameters able to play a role on the effect of alcohol. So, a law enforcement officer can arrest you even if your blood alcohol concentration is under the limit.

Impaired Driving and Associated Penalties

Considering the repercussions of alcohol consumption, law enforcement officers are mandated to enforce the Highway Safety Code. So, regardless of the vehicle you are driving, they can arrest you to control your aptitudes.

Please note that they can also control you when you are simply seated in the driver seat of a non-moving vehicle, turned-off or stranded, if you are sleeping on the back of your car or even outside looking for the keys, clearing the snow or putting things in the trunk. In compliance with the procedure, the officers can have you blow in the Breathalyzer or ask you to do certain movements. It is advised agreeing to these tests otherwise you could face severe sanctions.

What are the sanctions you could face in case of alcohol consumption? When impaired driving, the Highway Safety Code and the Criminal Code apply. But the sanctions can vary depending on the degree of alcohol present in your blood and past infractions.

For information purposes, when driving while impaired, your licence can be suspense for 90 days to up to 5 years, you risk having a fine, a criminal record and worst of all, you could go to jail in case of recidivism.

Note that you will have to drive a vehicle equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device and follow the Program to Assess and Reduce the Risk of Impaired Driving. Taking those facts into consideration, to ensure your defense, it is strongly advised to call a criminal lawyer such as Mrs. Martine Thibodeau.

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