In Ontario impaired driving is impaired driving, it doesn’t matter if it’s alcohol or drugs. Both will reduce your ability to drive and increase the risk of harm for the driver and everyone around. Starting October 2nd, 2016 drivers under the influence of a drug will face the same penalties as a drunk driver. After alcohol, marijuana is the second most common substance found among impaired drivers according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
Drug-impaired driving penalties include:
- An immediate three day license suspension for a first offence, seven days for a second offence, and 30 days for a third offence.
- A $180 dollar fine.
- Similar to alcohol-impaired drivers, drug-impaired drivers could face additional fines and jail time.
It’s up to the officer to determine whether the driver is impaired. There is no “breathalyzer” test; officers can perform the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that include: a horizontal nystagmus test (the officer asks you to focus on an object and moves it side-to-side), one leg stand, and walk and turn. The province is currently working on new tools to help administer roadside tests for drug impairment.
It’s never worth it to drive after you’ve taken drugs or had a few drinks. We in the insurance industry always want the best for you and your loved ones. If you want to read more about this new amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, head over to the Canadian Underwriter. If you want to learn more about the use of marijuana and driving you can read the report published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.