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Making Ontario's Roads Safer

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Making Ontario's Roads Safer

Ministry of Transportation

Ontario's roads are among the safest in North America and our Graduated Licensing System (GLS) has proven to reduce the collision risk among young drivers.

To build on these results, new measures contained in the Road Safety Act, 2009 go into effect August 1, 2010. These changes will encourage new and young drivers to drive responsibly, obey the conditions of their licence class and make Ontario's roads safer for all drivers.   

Zero Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for Young Drivers 21 Years of Age and Under and Novice Drivers

Research shows that ages 19, 20 and 21 are the peak years for drinking and driving-related collisions. Drivers aged 19 to 21 are almost one-and-a-half times as likely to be involved in drinking and driving fatal and injury crashes.  In the 10 years prior to 2006, 235 drivers age 21 and under were killed in drinking and driving collisions.

Effective August 1, 2010, all drivers 21 years of age and under, regardless of their class of licence, must maintain a zero blood alcohol concentration level when driving. Penalties for non-compliance are as follows:

Young Drivers (21 years of age and under).

  • immediate 24-hour licence suspension at roadside.
  • a fine of $60 to $500
  • a 30-day licence suspension.

Novice Drivers

  • immediate 24-hour licence suspension at roadside.
  • a fine of $60 to $500 and a licence suspension and escalating penalties, which may include cancellation of the novice licence.

Escalating Sanctions for Novice Drivers

Any driver that holds a novice class licence will face escalating sanctions for:

  • any combination of repeat violations of G1, G2, M1 and M2 conditions
  • convictions for individual HTA offences totalling four or more demerit points or;
  • a court-ordered licence suspension for HTA offences that result in four or more demerit points.

The Novice Driver Escalating Sanctions are:

  • 30-day licence suspension for a first instance.
  • 90-day licence suspension for a second instance.
  • cancellation of novice licence, loss of all credit for any fees or time spent in GLS including any Beginner Driver Education time discount, and requirement to re-apply to enter G1 or M1, as the case may be, for a third instance.

Reduced Licence Suspension with Ignition Interlock Device

Research shows that many drivers with suspended licences continue to drive, despite their suspension. These drivers are a danger to other road users. Collisions involving drivers suspended for a drinking and driving conviction are 3.4 times more likely to be fatal.  These drivers are also more likely to have been cited as having been drinking or impaired at the time of the collision.

Currently, convicted impaired drivers must serve lengthy driver's licence suspensions of at least one year and complete a remedial measures program before being eligible to have their licences reinstated. However, about 40 per cent of these convicted impaired drivers never reach this point and research suggests that up to 75 per cent of suspended drivers continue to drive during their suspension.

As part of 2007's Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act, Ontario's Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program uses ignition interlock to prevent convicted impaired drivers from re-offending and driving while suspended. The program works by reducing a convicted impaired driver's suspension as long as they agree to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, submit to regular monitoring of their driving behaviour and abide by other strict program rules.

Changing Behaviours of First-time Offenders

By offering an incentive to return to the licensing system, the program gives first-time offenders the opportunity to drive their vehicles legally earlier. However, their behaviour will be strictly monitored to help ensure that they are driving sober.

The installation of ignition interlock devices can help reduce the risk to other road users in a number of important ways such as:

  • Preventing drivers from starting their car if they have been drinking.
  • Helping convicted impaired drivers learn to keep their drinking and driving behaviours separate.
  • Reducing the likelihood that a convicted impaired driver will re-offend in the future by up to 95 per cent.

For details on the program's eligibility requirements and features, please visit:


FAQ's about Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program

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Driving and Roads