People who may be thinking of using a drug and then getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle may want to think again. As part of the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, the Provincial Government has made changes to the penalties that drivers can face if caught operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Drivers who are caught driving under the influence of drugs will now face the same penalties as those caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Starting October 2, 2016, drivers under the influence of drugs will face the following penalties:
- A $180 penalty
- An immediate licence suspension of three days for the first occurrence, seven days for the second occurrence and 30 days for the third and subsequent occurrences upon failure of a roadside sobriety test
- A possible 90-day licence suspension and a seven-day vehicle impoundment following further testing by a drug recognition expert at a police station
- Mandatory education or treatment programs, and installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, for drivers with two or more licence suspensions involving alcohol or drugs within a 10-year period
It is also worth noting that these are not the only penalties a driver can face if caught under the influence of drugs. Impaired driving can also lead to criminal charges, not just provincial fines, which could ultimately result in a loss of licence, additional fines and jail time.