Zero Tolerance Policy Announced Toward Young Drivers Smoking Marijuana

September 28, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Ontario is going to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21, novice drivers, and commercial drivers who are caught behind the wheel under the influence of pot or booze. Wynne indicated that road safety will be the first priority following the legalization of recreational marijuana use on July 1, 2018.

Responsible management of the recreational use of marijuana will be key. This extends across public safety issues such as permitted smoking locations as well as impaired driving issues.

“We had a goal to balance the new freedom that people in Ontario will have to use cannabis recreationally with everyone’s expectation that it will be managed responsibly,” the premier said.

The Ontario government announced that marijuana sales would be tightly regulated and the pot would be sold by stand alone LCBO run stores. There would be 40 in July and up to 150 of them by 2020. They will also have online sales in the province of pot. The announcements and opportunity to redraft legislation has allowed the government to beef up drinking and driving penalties as well. All of this has a focus on young people.

Following the lead of the 8 American states where recreational pot use is legal, Ontario matched the consumption age with that of alcohol. The penalties for marijuana-impaired driving will also be modelled on the drunk driving laws in place in the province. There is agreement on all fronts that stiffer consequences need to be put into place for people who drive impaired regardless of the nature of the impairment. Drugs or alcohol – impaired driving isn’t acceptable.

The government has stated it intends to make the following consequences for impaired driving:

  • For the first offence young drivers (under 21) and G1, G2, M1, M2 licence holders will have a 3-day suspension and $250 fine.
  • For the second offence young drivers (under 21) and G1, G2, M1, M2 licence holders will receive a 7-day suspension and $350 fine
  • Subsequent offences for young drivers (under 21) and G1, G2, M1, M2 licence holders will result in 30-day suspension and $450 fine
  • Commercial drivers will receive a 3-day suspension at any time they are caught and fined $450
  • All other drivers with BAC of 0.05-0.08 will face suspensions of 3-30 days and up to $450 in fines.
  • All other drivers with a BAC >0.08 will face a 90 day suspension and $550 in fines

Minister Del Duca noted that these measures are all in addition to federal criminal charges for impaired driving which lead to a criminal record, loss of licence, additional fines and possible jail time.

MADD and the Ontario Trucking Association are pleased with this first step. All political parties hope the government will provide the police with the resources they need to implement the new policies including road a side test for THC, and the establishment of acceptable THC levels.

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Drunk Driving Accidents

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