Impaired Driving: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Monday, 11 December 2017

Impaired Driving: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You

#AskIsaacZisckind

An average of four people die each day on Canadian roads in crashes in which alcohol or drugs play a role according to MADD Canada. Although there are severe penalties for drivers arrested and convicted of driving while impaired, Statistics Canada reports that a disturbingly large number of drivers responding to a survey admitted to driving while impaired an average of six times in a one-year period. Obviously, there is much for people to learn about the effects of alcohol and drugs on their driving abilities and the risk of injury and death posed by impaired drivers.

What is impaired driving?

Operating a motor vehicle while your ability to do so is impaired by drugs or alcohol is a violation of the Criminal Code of Canada. This is usually proven through the observations made of your physical condition by the officer who pulled you over. These observations could include the following:

  • Glassy, watery and bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty responding to questions
  • Oder of alcohol coming from the person or the vehicle
  • Difficulty walk or standing

The law also defines impaired driving using the concentration of alcohol in your blood as measured from a breath sample using a device that analyzes the sample after you blow into it. If the blood alcohol concentration exceeds 80 milligrams in 100 milliliters of blood, you are considered impaired and charged with committing an offence.

Cars, trucks and SUVs are not the only vehicles to which the law applies. Operating snowmobiles, off-road vehicles and boats can also result in an impaired driving offence.

How much is too much?

It is dangerous to attempt to guess at the number of drinks or amount of alcohol that could impair your driving abilities or increase your BAC to the criminal offence level of 0.08 percent. Your height, gender, body weight and other factors contribute to how alcohol is processed by your body.

A person consuming only one drink containing alcohol could experience signs of impairment, including:

  • Slowed reflexes
  • Inability to focus attention
  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired judgment

Any of the signs of drug or alcohol impairment can affect your ability to control your vehicle and cause an accident.

It is a mistake to think of impaired driving only in terms of the consumption of alcohol. Research shows that for individuals 55 years of age and older, drugs are more common than alcohol in causing impaired driving. It is not only illegal drugs that play a role in causing impaired driving. Medications prescribed by a doctor and over-the-counter medications may impair a person’s ability to drive.

Zero tolerance in Ontario

Provincial law in Ontario imposes a zero tolerance rule on drivers 21 years of age and younger. Any BAC results in administrative penalties, including driver’s licence suspension and fines.

Avoiding the risk of impaired driving

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from becoming an impaired driver, including:

  • Do not drink and drive. If you have been drinking, call a car-sharing service or a taxi.
  • Find out from your doctor or pharmacy the effects of prescription medications on your ability to drive.
  • Before taking over-the-counter medications, read the package information for possible side effects.
  • Do not combine medications without discussing the possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do not drink alcohol if you are taking an over-the-counter or prescription drug without asking a doctor or a pharmacist if it is safe to do so.

What to do when an accident happens?

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamondare there to help with your claim for compensation if you are injured in a vehicle accident caused by an impaired driver. Our 24/7 injury hotline is available at 1-800-567-HURT or you can visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices are located throughout Ontario.

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