Young drivers subject to new licence rules
Drivers 21 years of age and younger will soon no longer be allowed to have consumed a drop of alcohol before they get behind the wheel.
Under provincial legislation which takes effect on Aug. 1, those drivers will be subject to zero alcohol tolerance – regardless of whether they have a G1- or G2-classified licence.
"This is about protecting young people, protecting people who drive on our roads," said Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne.
Previous rules allowed drivers to have about one drink; those stopped were subject to a warning.
Any driver 21 or under who is found to have violated the law will 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 will lead to the cancellation of your licence.
Ontario has the lowest impaired driving rate in Canada, she said.
"When a quarter of all fatal collisions in Ontario involve a drinking driver we know that there is more that we can do."
"That combination of being young and being a new driver can be particularly dangerous."
Statistics suggest that drivers aged 19-21 are almost one-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in drinking and driving fatal injury crashes in comparison to other drivers, Wynne said.
Changes to licence legislation were introduced in 2009.
Since 2008, 235 drivers under 21 have been killed in collisions involving drinking and driving, Wynne said.
One of the most horrifying incidents involved the death of three young men from Toronto.
Tyler Mulcahy, 20, Cory Mintz, 20, and Kourosh Totonchian, 19, were killed when the car they were travelling in launched off an embankment on Peninsula Rd. near Port Carling in July 2008.
The vehicle skimmed the tips of several trees and landed in Lake Rosseau.
All three were killed while a fourth passenger, Nastasia Elzinga, escaped with minor injuries.
Reports suggest that the group had been drinking at a nearby golf course before getting in the car.
Following the crash Tyler's father, Tim, lobbied for changes to driving legislation.
"Mr. Mulcahy has been a strong advocate for tougher rules for young drivers and we certainly took his input into consideration when developing these rules," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation said.
"The fact is that there have been too many tragedies involving young drivers and it was necessary to strengthen our sanctions to help prevent future incidents.
Mr. Mulcahy was not immediately available for comment Monday.
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