The Highway Traffic Act protects drivers and road users in Canada and has provisions to safeguard road safety. This includes limitations on the amount of alcohol in the driver’s bodies. A breathalyzer detects the level of alcohol content in the bloodstream when the driver blows into it. As per the law, a fully licensed driver may not have more than 0.08 BAC while driving and a novice driver must have 0 BAC.
You may not refuse a police officer for a breathalyzer test as they are permitted by law to test anyone they suspect of drinking 3 hours prior to driving. This applies even when you are fully in control of your vehicle or even when you are sitting in a parked vehicle behind the wheel.
What Does Impaired Driving Mean
Impaired driving means caring, controlling or operating a motor vehicle even when alcohol or drugs impair your ability to do so. These could also be certain over the counter drugs or prescription drugs that cause drowsiness and impairment during driving. The federal law restricts driving motor vehicles that include trucks, cars, boats, off-road vehicles and snowmobiles in an impaired condition. Impaired driving is a criminal offense punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Different Types Of Impaired Driving
Driving while impaired may be due to different reasons. When someone does impaired driving then it could mean any of the following conditions.
- Driving While Intoxicated: DWI
- Driving When Ability is Impaired: DWAI
- Operating While Impaired: OWI
- Driving Under influence: DUI
What Causes Impaired Driving
It is very dangerous to drive in an impaired condition and causes many accidents and fatalities. Impairment while driving a motor vehicle can be caused by alcohol, sleepiness, illegal or legal drugs, a medical condition affecting driving. Even a distraction like texting or talking on the phone may impair driving ability. To drive and drive is a criminal offense.
The level of alcohol in your blood is measured by the BAC or blood alcohol concentration. There are factors that affect your BAC level and this is may vary from one person to other. Whether you are a female or male, how fast you consume alcohol, your weight or body mass index and the quantity of food in your stomach when you drink alcohol. It is not necessary that you may have too much to drink to impair your driving ability. Even 1 drink is enough to reduce your response to any sudden road conditions or hazards that could lead to a crash. Your reflexes may be slow and vision could blur or double and your attention to driving would impair.
How To Prevent Or Stop Impaired Driving
It is possible to stop yourself from driving if you are in an impaired condition. You may suggest another sober driver, take a cab or use public transit. If you see someone preparing to drive in an impaired condition then you may try to explain to that person that it is not safe.
Speak slowly and remember that the person is impaired so may not agree right away. Explain that such an action may hurt them or others and if needed take the car keys. If this is happening at your home suggest to the to person stay for the night or take a cab and persuade not to drive in that condition. Most often, after heavy drinking in the night, there may be still some alcohol contents in your blood the next morning. So, if you get pulled over for a breathalyzer then do not be surprised if you test positive as you still carry alcohol traces.