Drinking and driving remains a serious problem in Canada. Drunk drivers kill nearly 1,500 and injure another 63,000 in crashes each year. The federal government wants to reduce those numbers by lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) permitted under current law.
As it stands now, if you have more than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of your blood and you are operating a motor vehicle, you are committing an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. There are severe consequences for doing so, especially if someone is harmed or killed.
This spring, Canada’s Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould wrote to her counterparts at the provincial and territorial levels to suggest lowering the alcohol limit to 50 milligrams nationwide. “I believe that lowering the federal limit to 50 milligrams would better respond to the danger posed by impaired drivers, by sending a strong message through the criminal law and changing drivers’ behavior,” Wilson-Raybould said when questioned about the suggested change.
The BC Motor Vehicle Act says that if you are a driver in care or control of a motor vehicle and your BAC is over the 50 milligram limit, you can be served with an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP). You will lose driver privileges for a period of time. If the proposed Criminal Code change becomes the law, you’ll face far harsher penalties.
Of course, alcohol and driving do not mix. Even if you are below the legal limit, you can still be intoxicated and a risk to everyone’s safety. So if you’re planning to have a drink, plan a safe ride home or wait until the alcohol has left your system. Drinking and driving isn’t just wrong, it’s can result in a criminal record.
For more information
- Legal Limits on Drinking and Driving in Canada, Breathalyzer.ca
- Criminal Code of Canada: Operation while impaired, Government of Canada
- Driving While Affected by Drugs or Alcohol, Government of BC
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