Drinking and driving

Drinking and driving

Impaired or drunk driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada. If someone has been drinking alcohol, it is not safe to drive any type of vehicle, including cars, snowmobiles, ATVs, and boats. Someone who drinks and drives is more likely to get in a crash. Drinking and driving is not just dangerous to the driver, it also puts others at risk, like passengers or people outside the vehicle if a crash happens.

How does alcohol affect the ability to drive?

Even drinking a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous. There is no safe amount of alcohol that you can drink if you will be driving.  This is because there is no way to be sure that all the alcohol has left your body. And the more you drink, the higher your blood alcohol level, and the greater the risk of getting in an accident.

Alcohol and driving is a dangerous mix. Alcohol slows down parts of your brain and can:

  • Reduce your ability to react quickly when something unexpected happens
  • Affect your vision and reduce your ability to know how far away your vehicle is from other vehicles or objects
  • Lower your ability to think clearly and make good decisions
  • Increase risky and dangerous behaviours

If you are going to drink alcohol, do not drive any vehicle and plan ahead to get home safely. Find another way to get home, like getting a ride with a friend who won’t be drinking or call a friend or relative to pick you up. 

What are the drinking and driving laws in Nunavut?

In Nunavut, it is illegal for someone to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05% In this case, an officer may suspend their licence for 24 hours.

Driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.08% is a criminal offence under the federal Criminal Code of Canada. In this case, an individual convicted of an impaired driving offence, including refusal to do a sobriety test (to see how drunk someone is), can face additional criminal charges such as fines, jail sentencing, probation and a Canada-wide driving ban.

The minimum sentences for driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.08% are:

  • $1000 fine and a 12-month driving prohibition for first time offence.
  • 30-day jail sentence and a 24-month driving prohibition for a second offence.
  • 120-day jail sentence and 36-month driving prohibition for third and subsequent offences.

Charges for impaired driving can result anytime a person’s ability to drive a vehicle (car, boat, snowmobile, ATV) is affected by alcohol or drugs.

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