Impaired driving is the act of driving a motor vehicle while your ability is affected by alcohol or drugs. In Canada, impaired driving is the #1 cause of criminal death. Impaired driving seriously injures hundreds of people daily. A person stopped for impaired driving, if convicted, can lose their licence, be fined, or spend time in jail.
The most common impaired driving offences are:
- Impaired Driving – driving while you are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, including prescription or illegal drugs
- Over 80 – Driving with a blood alcohol level that is more than 80 milligrams in 100 milliltres of blood
- Refusal – Failure or refusal to do physical sobriety tests or give a breath or blood sample when demanded, without a reasonable excuse.
These are all offences under the Criminal Code of Canada, and hold a punishment of $1000, one year license suspension, and education / treatment program for first offence. If a person is convicted for a second or third time, they will have to spend time in jail and their license could be suspended for life.
Side of the Road
When a person is stopped on the side of the road and the officer has suspicion that the driver has consumed alcohol within the last 3 hours. The officer will demand the driver to:
- Conduct a SFST (Standard Field Sobriety Test) to assess the driver’s condition. The test includes Horizontal Gaze Hystagmus, walking heel-to-hoe, and one leg stand; and/or
- take a roadside breath test by blowing into a machine called an approved screening device (ASD)
Drivers who are caught with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) between 0.05 and 0.08 will automatically lose their license for 3, 7, or 30 days. Repeat offenders will face tougher consequences.
All drivers aged 21 and under will be subject to a 24-hour license suspension if they are caught with ANY alcohol in their blood and if convicted, can face a 30 day license suspension and up to a $500 fine.
Equipment and Training
Every South Simcoe Police officer receives training in the theory and operation of the approved screening device. At the present time, South Simcoe Police use two approved screening devices; the Drager Alcotest 7410 GLC and the Alco-Sensor FST. Both devices are approved by the Criminal Code to be used in Canada.
When a person has been arrested for having excess alcohol in their body, they must be taken to a station to provide breath samples. The person must provide two breath samples into the approved instrument. The instrument that the South Simcoe Police currently employs is the Intoxilyzer 8000C, which is approved by the Criminal Code of Canada.
The South Simcoe Police have 18 officers who have been designated as qualified breath technicians, who can operate the approved instrument. The Qualified Breath Technicians have received training on the theory and the operation of the Intoxilyzer 8000C instructed by the Centre of Forensic Sciences.
South Simcoe Police has been involved in the Drug Recognition program for a number of years now. Currently the South Simcoe Police have four Drug Recognition Experts who have received several weeks of training and have participated in a least 12 certification evaluations before being recommended as experts by two senior instructors. We also have several more officers who have been trained to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests at the roadside.