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Ford government sets out new rules for people guilty of impaired driving in Ontario

Click to play video: '‘No excuse for driving drunk’: Ontario announces new legislation against impaired driving'
‘No excuse for driving drunk’: Ontario announces new legislation against impaired driving
WATCH - ‘No excuse for driving drunk’: Ontario announces new legislation against impaired driving – May 15, 2024

Ontario is planning to bring in a series of new measures for those found guilty of impaired driving in the province, including ignition interlock devices and lifetime driving bans.

The Ford government unveiled the proposed new measures Wednesday as part of a crackdown revolving around licence suspensions, which will also include measures for stunt driving and auto theft.

“Everyone deserves to return home to their loved ones safely at the end of the day,” Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said in a statement. “Too many families in Ontario have had their lives torn apart by the careless and shameful actions of impaired drivers.”

Ontario Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria speaks to reporters on May 15, 2024. Ontario is planning to bring in a series of new measures for those found guilty of impaired driving in the province, including ignition interlock devices and lifetime driving bans.

One of the measures that will be brought forward in upcoming new legislation will be a lifetime driving ban for people found guilty of impaired driving causing death.

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Those charged with a first impaired driving offence will have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and go through mandatory training, the province said.

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The government said that one in three deaths on Ontario roads involve impaired driving. Meanwhile, the province said a 2022 study found that one in five drivers stopped were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

Click to play video: 'Ontario announces stricter rules for impaired driving'
Ontario announces stricter rules for impaired driving

According to the government, its proposed legislation would also “increase immediate roadside licence suspensions for first and second-time alcohol and drug-related offences” and “clarify” the rules allowing police to stop vehicles for sobriety tests.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said it “commends” the proposed legislation, in a statement distributed by the government.

“Despite progress, too many people are still making the choice to drive impaired, and we need to ensure sanctions hold drivers accountable while focusing on reducing recidivism,” Steve Sullivan, CEO of MADD Canada, said.

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Click to play video: 'Police warn impaired driving is on the rise'
Police warn impaired driving is on the rise

The planned new impaired driving rules come as the Ford government prepares to unveil a proposed new bill, with rules laying out licence suspensions for people found guilty of auto theft also set to be included.

On Tuesday, Minister Sarkaria announced that car thieves convicted with an aggravating factor like violence could be subject to escalating licence suspensions. Someone found guilty three times, the government said, would face the possibility of a lifetime driving ban.

The legislation is expected to be tabled on Thursday.

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