How many drinks is too many under new impaired driving rules?
Tougher drinking and driving laws are being implemented across the country, but how much is too much to drink and get behind the wheel?
Experts say it will depend on your body size and alcohol tolerance, but MADD Canada has some information about what may set you over the limit.
According to their data, if you’re a woman weighing between 130 and 145 pounds, two drinks in two hours could put you close to .05 blood alcohol concentration. Three drinks would put you over the legal limit.
The MADD Canada’s data says men weighing 165 — 195 pounds who drink four drinks over a two hour period would be over that .05 limit.
In Manitoba, if you are behind the wheel and you are at or over .05 you will have your license suspended.
If you are caught for the first time blowing between .05 and .08 you will get an immediate three-day license suspension. When you blow over that .08 that’s when you would face criminal charges.
Starting on Dec. 18, stricter impaired driving laws are coming into effect across the country.
With the changes, law enforcement agencies will be able to demand a breathalyzer test even if a driver is showing no signs of impairment.
Up until this point, officers had to have reasonable grounds to conduct a breath test like slurring, bloodshot eyes, stumbling or the admission of drinking.
Authorities said the new mandatory alcohol screening laws will be especially helpful at collisions, where a driver may not be exhibiting obvious signs of impairment.
In addition to the new screening for suspected impaired drivers, Manitoba is bringing in new penalties as well.
Under a law tabled in November, a driver who has a blood alcohol level of between .05 and .08 will pay $200 and have their vehicle impounded for three days for a first offence.
The fine jumps to $400 for a third offence, and the driver would lose their vehicle for up to a month.
WATCH: Manitoba RCMP getting new tools to combat drunk driving
“There are still too many people who haven’t gotten the message about drunk driving and they are taking the lives of too many Manitobans,” said Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen in the fall.
“If you drink and drive, you will lose your licence, you will lose your vehicle and you will lose a lot of money.”
According to the province, 73 people were killed and 442 were seriously injured in traffic collisions in Manitoba last year.
Drunk driving accounted for 32 per cent of those killed and six per cent of those injured. Already this year, at least 28 people have lost their lives because of a drunk driver.
RCMP Sgt. Kyle McFadyen said seeing impaired driving continue despite police efforts can be frustrating.
“We do a lot of advertising to say we’re out there, and it’s not just the Christmas season,” McFadyen told 680 CJOB. “People know we’re out there.
“There’s no acceptable excuse for it. There are plenty of options. This simply comes down to people making poor choices, and these poor choices essentially affect the rest of their life.”
McFadyen said the safest option is also the simplest one.
“The reality is there’s no safe amount of alcohol you can consume and drive. If you choose to have any alcohol to drink, make other arrangements.”
Mark Turner is the owner of the Amsterdam Tea Room and he says what’s in your glass may be more alcohol than you think.
“Now especially, with the craft beer resurgence and the stronger beers like the IPAs, they’re now getting into the 6.5 and 7 per cent. So people with the older guidelines — they still think that one beer is OK, but they don’t realize they’re drinking a higher percentage beer,” he said.
“It’s about educating the customer and letting them know that yes, you’re ordering a beer — but if you’re driving this beer is a lot stronger.”
Turner said even cocktails often have more than just 1 oz of alcohol in them, so people need to be careful. He said his store has lots of non-alcoholic drink options so drivers won’t feel left out.
WATCH: Know what’s in your glass: Winnipeg bar owner
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