Ontario Set to Implement Strict Measures Against Impaired Drivers

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Impaired Driving - Thunder Bay Drivers don't seem to be getting the message
Impaired Driving - Thunder Bay Drivers don't seem to be getting the message

New laws propose lifetime bans and increased penalties to enhance road safety

TORONTO — The Ontario government is taking a strong stance against impaired driving by proposing new laws that could introduce harsher penalties, including lifetime driving bans for drivers causing deaths while impaired.

Minister of Transportation, Prabmeet Sarkaria, emphasized the necessity of these measures, stating, “Everyone deserves to be safe on their way home. It’s tragic how impaired driving has destroyed many families across Ontario. Our new steps aim to end this and ensure everyone’s safety.”

The proposed changes include mandatory ignition interlock devices for convicted impaired drivers and compulsory education and treatment programs for repeat offenders. The legislation would also allow police more power to stop vehicles and conduct sobriety checks more freely.

Steve Sullivan of MADD Canada praised the move, noting, “Though there’s been improvement, the problem of impaired driving persists. These stronger penalties are vital for accountability and decreasing repeat offences.”

For drivers in Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario, the instances of impaired driving charges along with the deaths caused by impaired drivers mean these new measures should help foster a new mantra of sober driving. Will it? Time only will tell.

Key Points:

  • Impaired driving accounts for a third of all road deaths in Ontario.
  • Recent surveys show that 20% of drivers had traces of alcohol or drugs in their system.
  • Cannabis-related driving offences are on the rise, particularly among young drivers.

The government also plans to enhance police training to better identify drug-impaired drivers and will initiate an awareness campaign focused on the risks associated with drug use, especially cannabis, while driving.

Other initiatives include heightened roadside suspension times for initial and subsequent offences and measures to combat auto theft by suspending the licences of individuals convicted of this crime.

Scott Butler from Good Roads and Walid Abou-Hamde from the Ontario Road Builders’ Association both welcomed the announcement, highlighting the need for stringent laws to curb reckless driving.

Michael Sanderson, representing paramedics, pointed out the severe impact of impaired driving, while Anne Leonard of arrive alive DRIVE SOBER urged the public to report dangerous driving behaviours.

These measures represent a significant step by the Ontario government to make roads safer and reduce fatalities and injuries caused by impaired drivers.

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