Driving a vehicle requires good judgment, hand-eye coordination, reaction time, spatial awareness and knowledge of your car and the rules of the road. Drugs such as cannabis or others available over the counter can adversely impact your driving skills. It is not necessary to consume such a drug in large quantities to impair your ability to drive; even a small portion of it can impair your driving skills, the result of which can be fatal.
A report published by the Canadian Society of Forensic Science states that the effect of cannabis comes on quickly and persists up to six hours. If you take drugs frequently, the impairment may last for longer periods of time. As the impairment may exist for an undetermined amount of time, it is still unknown exactly how long to wait after ingesting marijuana to be fit for driving. It is advisable to avoid driving at all after taking cannabis.
The same goes for alcohol consumption: Some studies suggest that even one standard alcoholic drink can impair your ability to drive. As you consume more alcohol, your co-ordination and reaction time decreases drastically and you may experience blurred vision while driving. Deaths caused by alcohol impaired driving have become common in Ontario.
When is One Considered to be Impaired by Alcohol or a Drug
An individual is considered to be impaired when their ability to operate a motor vehicle (car, truck, boat, etc.) is slightly impaired by alcohol or a drug. This is a very low level test. It does not take very much alcohol or drugs to become just slightly impaired. Some studies have suggested that everyone’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol at readings as low as only 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 mls. of blood. Other studies have suggested that everyone’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired at 100 mgs. of alcohol in 100 mls. of blood. Depending on how much you weigh, it does not take very many drinks to reach either 50 or 100 mg %. The less you weigh, the fewer number of drinks it would take to reach these limits.
In Canada, the permissible limit of alcohol concentration in blood is 80 mg. of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 0.08%. If a fully licensed driver is caught driving a vehicle with more than the permissible limit, he/she will be charged with “over 80 mg.”. The warning range is from 0.05 to 0.08 mg %.
If the Ontario police find out that you are over the legal limit or impaired by alcohol or a drug while driving or in care of control of a vehicle, you will face serious criminal charges and penalties.
No Tolerance for Impaired Driving by Young and Commercial Drivers
There is a zero tolerance rule for drivers under the age of 21 or Beginner Drivers (holding G1, G2, M1, or M2 licenses). There must be no trace of alcohol in their blood at all times while driving.
As per recent amendments to the Criminal Code, cannabis is also included in the prohibited list along with any other drug that could be traced with an Oral Fluid Screening device.
Drivers holding A-F class licenses for commercial vehicle operation and road construction machines are also not allowed to have any trace of drug or alcohol in their blood stream. Cannabis is also not permitted as it can be detected by the oral fluid screening device.
Regardless of how old you are or what kind of vehicle you drive, it is best not to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or else you might face severe repercussions including criminal charges.
What if I am Arrested for Alcohol or Drug-Impaired Driving?
At Kruse Law, our goal is to help people who are arrested for impaired driving by fighting to protect their rights. If you are arrested for a crime in Ontario, contact us at 1-800-699-0806 for a free consultation, or visit us online and complete the consultation form.