Young driver challenges booze ban based on age
A 20-year-old Toronto man is challenging a new law prohibiting young drivers from having any trace of alcohol in their systems.
Kevin Wiener filed an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Wednesday. He says the new law violates his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"I have a clean driving record, I have zero demerit points and I don't drink and drive, but I am affected by this law because of my age," Wiener said at a news conference outside Old City Hall on Wednesday.
Wiener is asking the court to overturn the new law on the basis that it discriminates against drivers on the basis of age. The law is aimed at drivers 21 years old and younger.
"I want to make it very clear that -- like all Ontarians -- I am absolutely against drunk driving and I am for safer streets, but that does not mean that we should discriminate on the basis of age," Wiener said.
Wiener contends that a law intended to prevent impaired driving incidents should target drivers based on their level experience rather than their age.
Changes to the Highway Traffic Act took effect on Aug. 1 and have resulted in a handful of charges being issued.
The new legislation subjects drivers to zero alcohol tolerance regardless of whether they have a G1- or G2-classified licence.
Previous rules allowed drivers to have about one drink; those stopped were subject to a warning.
Beginning on Aug. 1, drivers 21 or under found to have violated the law can receive a 24-hour roadside suspension, a fine of up to $500 and a 30-day licence suspension.
A second offence leads to a 90-day suspension while a third offence leads to the cancellation of a licence.
Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne told a news conference last week that while Ontario has the lowest impaired driving rate in Canada, transportation statistics suggest drivers aged 19-21 are almost one-and-a-half-times more likely to be involved in drinking and driving fatal injury crashes compared to other drivers.
"This is about protecting young people, protecting people who drive on our roads," Wynne said.
"That combination of being young and being a new driver can be particularly dangerous."