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Quebec Is Cracking Down On Repeat DUI Offenders With A Car Breathalyzer Test For Life

The law enters force this month.
Staff Writer
Punishment For Repeat DUI In Quebec Becoming More Severe This Month

If you get caught driving drunk twice in Quebec, you'll be required to blow into a breathalyzer to start your car for life. Ignition breathalyzers will be installed if you get two DUIs twice in a 10 year period. Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel said that "we are sending a clear message to motorists and repeat offenders: driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is unacceptable." 

The law will enter force on November 25, 2019. The regulation was added to the province's Highway Safety Code when it was restructured last year. MADD Canada has called the law the toughest in the country, according to CBC News

"Although road safety is improving in Quebec, accidents caused by drinking and driving are still causing too many deaths each year," says Bonnardel. The Transport Ministry says that between 2013 and 2017, alcohol-related accidents caused an average of 100 deaths a year in Quebec and thousands of injuries. 

Though there has been an overall decline in impaired driving over the past 30 years, alcohol-related driving violations are some of the most frequent criminal offences. It is one of the leading criminal causes of death in the country. There has also been a sharp increase in the amount of drug-related DUI offences.

Those affected will have restrictions put on their licenses and won't be allowed to drive a car without an ignition breathalyzer. If you're caught driving with a restricted license and don't have a breathalyzer installed, you'll be fined $1500, get a three-month license suspension, and the vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. 

Repeat offenders will be facing an immediate 90-day vehicle seizure, a two-year license suspension, and even imprisonment. Also, more than three offences, a failure to cooperate with authorities, and a blood alcohol content double the legal limit may result in a lifetime license suspension. 

Translation: User safety is a priority and with this measure coming into effect on November 25, we are sending a clear message to motorists and repeat offenders: driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is unacceptable!

If you only have two offences, you may apply for an appeal to lift the restriction after 10 years. For those with more than two offences, the restriction applies for life, that is if they haven't already taken away your license. 

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According to MADD Canada, road crashes across the country claimed over 2,000 lives in 2014. A growing number of fatalities involve drug-related impairment.

In fact, the number of drug-impaired deaths was almost double that of alcohol-related deaths. It's important to note that it's tough to compare alcohol to drugs because there isn't a ton of compatible research for drug-related DUIs. 

Experts agree that ignition interlock systems are the one of the most effective ways to prevent drunk driving. It's unclear who will be paying for the installation of the breathalyzers but experts are finding a cost-effective solution. 

The law will be implemented on November 25, just in time for the holiday season. 

This should be motivation enough for people to not drink and drive. If you think you can't drive, you probably can't.

Take an Uber or call a friend, it's not worth the risk! For more information about this new regulation, visit the Transport Ministry's official website (in French only).

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