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Learn about Ontario’s impaired driving laws and the penalties you could face if you drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Impaired driving means operating a vehicle (including cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada and the consequences are serious. You may:
Ontario is a leader in combating impaired driving through some of the toughest laws and programs in North America.
For more information on the consequences of operating a snowmobile or off-road vehicle while impaired please refer to the following pages
Even one drink can reduce your ability to react to things that happen suddenly while you are driving. The effects of alcohol include blurred or double vision, impaired attention and slowed reflexes. Your life and the lives of others can change forever if you drive after drinking alcohol.
The amount of alcohol in your body is measured by the amount of the alcohol in your blood. This is called blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. Once you take a drink, there is no way to guess what your BAC is.
Many factors can affect your blood alcohol level including:
In Ontario and the rest of Canada, the maximum legal BAC for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08). Driving with BAC over 0.08 is a criminal offence.
In Ontario, your BAC does not have to be over the 0.08 legal limit to result in serious consequences. If you register a BAC from 0.05 to 0.08 (commonly referred to as the warn range), you will face provincial administrative penalties.
Drugs can also impair your ability to drive. This is true for both illegal drugs and prescription or over-the-counter medication.
There are simple steps you can take to avoid driving while you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol:
Remember, fatigue and stress will also affect your ability to drive safely.
The Zero BAC law means that certain drivers cannot have any presence of alcohol in their blood while they drive. This law applies to:
If you are caught with a BAC above zero, here is what will happen:
If you are a novice driver and have your licence suspended for drinking and driving, your licence could be cancelled. You will have to retake all your driving tests and repay all the fees.
|Number of instances||Consequences|
|Second time (within 5 years)||
|Third and subsequent times (within 5 years)||
|Number of instances||Penalties|
|Third and subsequent times||
*The Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program will eligible drivers convicted for the first time of an alcohol impaired driving offence under the Criminal Code to reduce their licence suspension in return for meeting specific requirements, such as the mandatory installation of an approved ignition interlock device in their vehicle.