I felt like I needed to do a blog post this week but wasn't sure what it was going to be about. There are so many topics to choose from in the world of Traffic Safety. Then the topic was provided to me.
I came into work this morning and received a notice that the Toronto Police Service issued it's first 30 day suspension under the Province's Bill 203 Legislation. That means this one driver, a 30 year old male from Scarborough, has been issued two previous suspensions for registering in the warn range for alcohol in his system while driving.
That's the legislation that recognized driver's who operate a motor vehicle under the legal limit but with alcohol in their system had to be recognized, tracked and made more accountable for their poor choices. As far as all police are concerned, if you drink the choice is simple...DON'T DRIVE!!
The legal limit to operate a motor vehicle under the Criminal Code of Canada is .08. In normal terms that means there are 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood of the tested subject. Anything over that warrants a charge of Drive Over 80 mgs.
The warn range is the area between .05 and .079.
Prior to May 1, 2009 the suspensions were 12 hours and you could pick up your licence at a police station after the 12 hours passed. On May 1st last year, Bill 203 took effect which created sanctions for those persons who registered readings in the Warn Range.
For a 1st time instance in that range, you will receive a 3 day licence suspension. Your licence is forwarded to the Ministry of Transportation.
For a 2nd instance: driver suspended for seven days and must undergo remedial alcohol education program
Third or subsequent instance: driver suspended for 30 days, must undergo remedial alcohol treatment program and have ignition interlock condition on their licence for six months.
This legislation, agree with it or not, is extremely important to the protection of the public and forwarding road safety measures.
Benefits of Bill 203 (The drinking and driving part of it)
First, it allows for the tracking of drivers who have registered breath readings in this area. Those drivers who choose to drink and drive are considered high risk road offenders in that action alone. Now, we can get a better picture of how many of those drivers continue to put all of us at risk with their potentially deadly choices.
Second, it allows for a measure of prevention. I know I don't want to risk losing my licence for 3 days, let alone having that on my divers abstract...did I mention that? Sorry, each time that you register in that range, it goes on your drivers abstract...can you imagine what insurance companies think about drivers who are considered high risk?
Finally, the legislation makes it possible to educate those people who not only self identify as high risk road users, but creates an opportunity for those persons to be educated as to the dangers of their choices.
Now, before you start talking about the government and the police are taking away all your fun, remember, it's not illegal to drink if you are of legal drinking age. It's not even illegal to drink before driving. It is illegal to drink too much before driving. You are your own liquor control board. So the choice is 100% up to you.
Our message is simple if you want to drink, go ahead, but if you are going to be driving have a plan not to drive and stick with it. Public transit, cabs, designated drivers, hotels are all great options and a lot less expensive than defending yourself against criminal charges, tow bills and the real price that would be paid if you kill or injure yourself or others.
What do you think? Do you like the legislation, feel it's too harsh or maybe that it doesn't go far enough. Let me know.