5 questions about impaired driving

Consult the article in french.

Do you know all the possible consequences of impaired driving? Here are the answers to 5 questions on the subject, taken from La Capitale’s blog.

1. Can we put a number on the consequences of impaired driving?

Yes! SAAQ statistics demonstrate that each year, on average, accidents related to alcohol-impaired driving result in:

  • More than 150 deaths
  • About 400 serious injuries
  • About 2,000 slight injuries
  • Costs of 90 million dollars to compensate drunk driving victims, in addition to the immeasurable repercussions they have to contend with for the rest of their life

2. What rules apply to alcohol consumption by Quebec drivers?

The blood alcohol concentration levels tolerated under the Highway Safety Code are as follows:

    • 0.00 for:
      • Drivers who are 21 years of age or younger
      • Those with a learner’s licence
      • Those with a probationary licence
      • Bus, minibus or taxi drivers
    • 0.05 for drivers of heavy vehicles
    • 0.08 for other passenger vehicle drivers

However, you should know that you may also be arrested if a police officer considers your driving ability to be impaired, regardless of your blood alcohol concentration level and regardless of the reason.

Given the dangers associated with impaired driving, offenders are dealt with severely by both the Highway Safety Code and the Criminal Code.

If you are arrested for this type of offence, your licence will be immediately suspended and your vehicle seized. You will also appear for a trial under the Criminal Code.

If the outcome of the trial is that you are found guilty, your licence will be revoked for a period of one to three years, after which you will only be able to drive if your vehicle is equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device.

3.What fees may apply if you are arrested for impaired driving?

Type of fee Cost
Mandatory minimum fine and fees for a first offence Over $1,750
If applicable, an alcohol ignition interlock device Approximately $780
Increased auto insurance premium: If you are found guilty, your licence will be revoked, and you will have to notify your insurer immediately. When you are authorized to resume driving, you can expect your auto insurance to be at least twice as costly for the next three years. Doubled insurance premium for three years
Court, lawyer and other fees associated with a criminal record Variable
Contribution toward the Victims of Crime Initiative (VCI) Variable
Travel costs during the period in which the driver’s licence is suspended or revoked Variable

4. How can you ensure that you avoid driving drunk?

Plan your festive outings!

  • Appoint a designated driverCall and ask a friend or relative to pick you up
  • If you’re visiting a friend, sleep over
  • Use a safe ride service (like Tolérance Zéro or Operation Red Nose)
  • Take a taxi
  • Use public transit

5. When hosting a gathering, what can you do to help your guests return home safely?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Limit your own alcohol consumption in order to stay in control of the party
  • Don’t serve salty snacks, which can make people thirsty
  • Make sure your guests have access to water and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the evening, so the designated drivers have something to drink and other guests can space out their alcoholic beverages
  • Display telephone numbers for taxi companies and safe ride services
  • Make sure no one gets behind the wheel drunk. If necessary, you may have to confiscate the keys of an inebriated guest

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