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As the festivities of the holiday season continue, we see many reminders to not drink and drive. The cost of drinking and driving is an incredibly high one – in both human life and financially for those who are found guilty.

According to MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs are the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. On average, approximately 4 people are killed each day in crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs. In 2012, there were 2,546 car crash deaths. Of those, 1,497 deaths, or 58.8%, involved drivers who had some alcohol and/or drug presence in their systems.

Under the law in Ontario, having even one drink could mean that you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.05). While the criminally prohibited BAC is 0.08, driving with a BAC over 0.05 is a provincial offence in Ontario. If you have a G1 or G2 licence, you cannot drive with any alcohol in your system, and must have a 0% BAC.

In this day and age, there is always another way to get home or to your intended destination. There’s no reason to drive under the influence.  In London, we have recently been witness to the tragedies caused by driving under the influence. Both the victims and perpetrators are seriously affected by this unnecessary act. As we have seen, the human loss arising from drinking and driving is enormous. Aside from the obvious and grave danger of putting yourself and others in harm’s way and potential loss of human life, there are several negative implications and consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A Criminal Record

Driving while impaired under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada. If convicted, a criminal record follows you for life. This can impact your employment or your ability to travel.

Financial Costs

Driving with a BAC of over 0.05 could result in license suspension, fines, or having to take an alcohol education course. There are mandatory fines and sentences for the Criminal offences involving impaired driving. These include large fines, having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, and jail.

You will also find that your insurance rates will sky rocket following a drinking and driving offence.

Of course the incredible amount of property damage to the vehicles involved in accidents adds to the financial costs. Your insurance company may deny some coverage if you are convicted of impaired driving.

Law Suit

You will likely find yourself in a law suit if you caused injury or death to another person as a result of your impaired driving. Your insurance company may take an off coverage position and you would be faced with bearing the cost of the law suit and the damages sought by the victim.

Accident Benefits

If you are injured as a result of impaired driving, you are entitled to receive accident benefits just as any person injured as a result of the use or operation of a motor vehicle in Ontario. However, if, at the time of the accident you were engaged in an act of which you are convicted of a criminal offence, the insurer is not required to pay an income replacement benefit or non-earner benefit to you.

These are some of the serious negative implications of drinking and driving.  So this holiday season, as you partake in the festivities of the holidays with family, friends or coworkers, remember that there’s always another way to arrive at your intended destination – call a friend; take a cab; take public transportation; walk; or stay overnight. Because the alternative is never worth it.

Please don’t drink and drive. Wishing a safe and happy holiday season to all.

If you or your loved one are a the victim of drinking and driving, please email Rasha El-Tawil or call 519.660.7712 for a free consultation.

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