Toronto, Ontario – New federal provisions on impaired driving become law today, July 2, giving police better tools to detect and investigate alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. The laws are effective with the passing of Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, put forth by Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson.

“Nearly two years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tied a MADD Canada ribbon to a vehicle to raise awareness for sober and safe driving and to announce legislation that would result in tougher penalties for impaired driving,” Nicholson said. “Today, I am pleased to say that we have delivered on our commitment to Canadians by passing the Tackling Violent Crime Act. As of July 2nd, if you are caught driving impaired, you will be held fully accountable for your actions.”

Drivers caught under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs will now face a maximum life sentence if they cause death, and a maximum ten-year sentence if they cause bodily harm, when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 80; be charged with a criminal offense if they refuse or fail to comply with a demand to provide for physical sobriety tests or bodily fluid samples; face tougher mandatory penalties such as $1,000 for a first offense, a sentence of 30 days in jail for a second offense, and a sentence of 120 days in jail for a third offense; and face a higher maximum penalty on summary conviction of 18 months, compared to six months previously. The five-year maximum remains.

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