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Drunk Driving During The Holidays Across Ontario: What You Should Know

The holidays are that time of the year when many people drink and drive. People relax too much and drink more than usual, but at the same time they ignore the dangers of drunk driving. Every year during the holidays, there is an increased number of traffic accidents. Unfortunately, some traffic accidents end up involving fatal deadly consequences or injuries. Not only can you suffer serious accident trauma, but you can also be charged for DUI.

Holiday Driving Tips

Even if you drive sober and safely, other drivers may not behave in the same manner. So if you cannot avoid driving during the holidays, make sure you are completely focused when behind the wheel. Here are some driving tips you should have in mind during Christmas and New Year’s Eve:

  • Have your car maintenanced (check your tires, car lights, windshield wipers)
  • Mind your speed (watch the speed limit and don’t rush, start a journey earlier than it should usually take because of the predictable traffic jams that occur during the holidays)
  • Get some rest (sleep long hours before your departure and take short breaks during the ride)
  • Plan your route ahead of time (even if you are familiar with the road, think about the safest way to get to your destination, taking into account the most congested roads during the holidays)
  • Emergency kit (don’t forget to bring your kit for emergencies, such as a first-aid kit, ice scraper, cell phone charger etc.)
  • Check weather forecast (before you leave home, check the weather and plan your journey accordingly)
  • Don’t drink alcohol!!!

How to Detect Drunk Drivers and Avoid Them

Even though you are eager to practice the driving tips above, you need to be prepared when you hit upon a drunk driver on the road. If you spot a drunk driver, do the best you can to avoid the accident. Here are some characteristics that will distinguish a drunk driver from a sober one:

  • A driver makes wide, abrupt or illegal turns
  • Slow response to traffic signals or driving at a very slow speed
  • A driver stops without reason or drives on the wrong side of the road
  • Deviation from the centerline
  • A driver almost hits another vehicle or an object

Holidays and Drunk Driving in Ontario

According to the local news from 2015, 573 drivers were charged for impaired driving in Ontario that year, during the holiday season. The RIDE campaign takes place every year between November 23rd and January 2nd. This year is not an exception as the OPP reported in the news.

So if you decide to take the risk of drinking and driving, you should know what consequences you may expect. Ontario driving laws are not a joke and you can be easily charged with a DUI. As a matter of fact, this is the most common criminal cause of death in Canada. MADD Canada stats reported four people killed every day in the drunk driving or drugged driving accidents.

In case you didn’t know, if you get pulled by a police officer and you have alcohol in your blood (0.08 or more blood alcohol concentration), you are committing a criminal offence. If your blood alcohol concentration is between 0.05 and 0.08 you can receive a warning with administrative penalties.  

For getting caught with BAC above zero

Your driving license will be suspended for one day and after you are convicted you can lose the licence for one month. As for the fees, you will need to pay at least $60 or $500.

If BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08

For first time DUI charge at this level, you will have to pay $198 and your license will be suspended for three days.

BAC 0.08 or above

In this case, you first lose your driver’s license for 90 days, pay a small fee, and your vehicle will be impounded for seven days. But after conviction, for first time DUI charges you can expect a driving suspension of at least one year, a $1000 fine, and you will be obliged to enter the treatment program. When you start to drive again, your car will have to be equipped with an ignition interlock device.

As soon as you get charged with drunk driving, call a DUI lawyer for a consultation. An experienced lawyer will help you with all the procedures and tell you where do you stand on drunk driving charges.

How to Avoid Driving This Holiday

Instead of drinking and driving, you should decide not to drive at all. You can take a cab or use public transport to get to your destination. There are also ride sharing services you can use or you can check with your friends- maybe one of them won’t drink at all. Operation Red Nose  also offers rides home. So make a plan in advance and forget about driving  if you cannot resist having a drink.

No matter how expensive the cab or the Uber ride for New Year’s Eve is, nothing is more valuable than your life. Don’t risk losing your life or destroying it and try to enjoy the holidays in a legal way.