Ontario Taking Impaired Drivers Off the Road

Tough new measures, including lifetime licence suspensions, will protect families and keep communities safe

May 15, 2024


The Ontario government is cracking down on impaired driving by introducing legislation that, if passed, would impose stiffer penalties for those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs – including a lifetime licence suspension for those convicted of impaired driving causing death.

“Everyone deserves to return home to their loved ones safely at the end of the day,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation. “Too many families in Ontario have had their lives torn apart by the careless and shameful actions of impaired drivers. That’s why our government is introducing tough new measures, including lifetime licence suspensions, that will protect families and keep our communities safe.”

Additionally, the government will require anyone convicted of impaired driving to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and undergo mandatory remedial education and treatment for first and second-time alcohol and drug-related offences respectively.

“Mothers Against Drunk Driving commends the Ontario government for taking steps to make roads safer and hold impaired drivers accountable,” said Steve Sullivan, CEO of MADD Canada. “Despite progress, too many people are still making the choice to drive impaired, and we need to ensure sanctions hold drivers accountable while focusing on reducing recidivism.”

The proposed legislation would also increase immediate roadside licence suspensions for first and second-time alcohol and drug-related offences and clarify police authority to stop vehicles and/or administer sobriety tests for drivers on or off the highway.

In response to increasing instances of cannabis-impaired driving, the government will also work to provide additional tools and training to help police officers detect drug-impaired driving and launch a province-wide campaign to highlight the dangers of drug-impaired driving, with a focus on cannabis and young drivers.

Quick Facts

  • In Ontario, one in three roadway fatalities involves impaired driving.
  • A 2022 roadside survey found that one in five drivers tested positive for drugs, alcohol, or both.
  • The percentage of drivers killed while under the influence of cannabis more than doubled between 2012 and 2020.
  • Ignition interlocks are in-car alcohol breath screening devices that prevent the vehicle’s engine from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s system.
  • For alcohol and drug-related offences, the province is proposing to increase the first and second-time roadside licence suspensions from three and seven days to seven and 14 days, respectively.
  • To keep communities safe, the Ontario government is also cracking down on auto theft by introducing legislation that, if passed, would suspend driver’s licences for people convicted of the crime.