With the target date for marijuana legalization less than 10 months away, the province says it’s planning to introduce new penalties for anyone caught driving while impaired by marijuana or any other drug.
Under current Ontario law, all drug-impaired drivers face three-day driver’s licence suspensions and $180 fines for first offences. If further testing at a police station confirms drug impairment, the licence suspension can be suspended for up to 90 days and the driver’s vehicle can be seized for up to one week.
The province’s proposed new laws, which were announced Monday, increase the minimum fine to $250. (Drivers will then be fined $350 for a second offence and $450 for all subsequent offences.)
Young drivers (anyone aged 21 or under) and people with G1, G2, M1 or M2 driver’s licences found to have any drug in their system would face the same penalties as fully licensed drivers found to be drug-impaired.
A similar “zero tolerance” approach would be in place for commercial drivers. The only difference would be that commercial drivers would never see their licences suspended for more than three days per offence, while young and novice drivers who repeatedly offend could face suspensions of up to 30 days.
None of these rules include the penalties that can be prescribed through the court system for any driver convicted of impaired driving.