Pubdate: Tue, 19 Sep 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Robert Benzie
Page: A3


Ontario modelled new laws on U.S. drunk-driving fines

Ontario will have a "zero tolerance" policy toward young drivers and
truckers who use marijuana. Premier Kathleen Wynne on Monday said
those 21 and under, commercial drivers and novice motorists will face
stiffer penalties if caught behind the wheel while under the influence
of cannabis or booze.

Following the lead of eight U.S. states that have legalized marijuana
- - including Colorado, Washington and California - Wynne said road
safety will be a priority once recreational weed is allowed after next
July 1.

"We had a goal to balance the new freedom that people in Ontario will
have to use cannabis recreationally with everyone's expectation that
it will be managed responsibly," the premier said.

Recreational marijuana will only be sold here by the government in
stand-alone LCBO-run stores - 40 in July, rising to 150 in 2020 - or

The province is using the impending legalization as an opportunity to
also beef up drinking-and-driving penalties - with an eye on young

"We saw that, in eight U.S. states where cannabis is legal, those
states have matched the legal age for using cannabis with the legal
age for drinking alcohol - and so with that consultation under our
belt we decided to move forward with that same model, setting the age
at 19," she said.

Similarly, penalties for marijuana-impaired motoring will be modelled
on drunk-driving laws.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said it's necessary to
"introduce harsher consequences for those who choose to drive while
impaired" - by drugs or alcohol.

For a first offence, young drivers - and all G1, G 2, M 1 and M 2
licence holders - will face a three-day suspension and a $250 fine. A
second will result in a week-long suspension and a $350 fine with all
subsequent occurrences penalized with a 30-day suspension and a $450

Similarly, commercial drivers will face three-day suspensions any time
they are caught and fined up to $450.

All other drivers found to be within the blood-alcohol concentrate
range of between .05 and .08 will face suspensions of between three
and 30 days and fines of up to $450.

Those with blood-alcohol concentrate levels above .08 face a 90-day
suspension and $550 fines.

"All of these measures are in addition to federal criminal charges for
impaired driving, which ultimately could result in a loss of licence,
additional fines or jail time," Del Duca said.

"Let me be clear: driving while impaired is not acceptable and will
not be tolerated," he said. MADD Canada's Andrew Murie noted that "by
far, cannabis is the leading drug when it comes to road fatalities
when drugs are present."
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MAP posted-by: Matt