April 13, 2007

Proposed Ontario legislation toughens penalties for drunk driving and street racing

Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario – The Ontario provincial government has introduced legislation that will toughen penalties for drunk drivers or those caught street racing. “There can be no tolerance in Ontario for people who put other people’s lives at risk on our roads,” says Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty. “We want to make it clear: if you drink and drive or if you street race, you’ll pay and the penalty will be tough.”

The proposed legislation will allow the courts to take away vehicles from repeat drinking and driving offenders; establish an early ignition interlock program for Criminal Code offenders; increase roadside drivers’ license suspension for drunk drivers; and take drivers’ licenses away from street racers and increase fines.

The legislation will also allow police a combination of red and blue lights on their vehicles, making them more visible, especially at night.

In a statement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada says it welcomes the proposed legislation, but says that it doesn’t go far enough. “It is good to see this government recognize our impaired driving laws need to be more effective,” says Andrew Murie, MADD CEO. “While we are pleased with the announcement, we are disappointed that the government did not take this opportunity to enhance its graduated license program with a zero BAC (blood alcohol count) limit for new drivers for five years. Other jurisdictions like Manitoba and Nova Scotia have introduced zero-BAC-for-five-years law. Zero and low BAC limits have been introduced for all drivers under 21 in the United States and this has resulted in significant reductions in impaired driving fatalities.”

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