• Dealers Voice: Do NOT drive impaired this Holiday Season

Dealers Voice: Do NOT drive impaired this Holiday Season

With impaired driving so socially unacceptable, and the risks so apparent, why is this behaviour still so prevalent?

Cliff Lafreniere By: Cliff Lafreniere December 14, 2019
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During the festive season, “don’t drink and drive” messages are broadcast everywhere, and yet, far too many drivers fail to heed the message.

Last year, police across Ontario laid hundreds of impaired driving charges as part of the RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) program over the holidays.

With impaired driving so socially unacceptable, and the risks so apparent, why is this behaviour still so prevalent?

Think, for a moment, how your life would change if you got behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and caused an accident. (Impairment can result from the use of alcohol, marijuana and many types of over-the-counter prescription and illegal drugs.)

First, consider the potential physical injuries to yourself, your loved ones, and to others (drivers, cyclists, pedestrians). Worse, think about the potential fatalities.

Imagine the pain and anguish that you, your family and others would suffer if a fatality occurred because of your impaired driving. Your life would change forever, and you would carry a stigma of shame and guilt for the rest of your life.

Clearly, there is no excuse for impaired driving, especially considering the many transportation options available, such as taxis, ride-hailing (Uber, Lyft), public transit, designated driving services (ddadd.ca, drinkanddial.ca), designated drivers and ca- ride services.

People will spends hundreds on a fancy dinner, but will not spend an extra $30 — $50 to arrange alternate transportation if they are impaired.

Besides the physical and mental injuries resulting from a drinking/drug-related collision, think about the financial costs, too.

For failing a breathalyzer or failing to take a test, a driver’s licence is automatically suspended for 90 days (which is separate from any charge they face in court) and their vehicle is impounded for seven days.

Drivers who receive a licence suspension must pay a $275 administrative penalty prior to reinstatement. If a conviction is merited, the driver must enrol in an alcohol education and treatment program, at a cost of $634.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) estimates that legal costs for a first-time drinking and driving conviction range from $2,000 to $10,000.

If a DUI charge results in a first-time conviction, the courts will impose a minimum fine of $1,000 under the Highway Traffic Act, and the offender’s driver’s licence will be suspended for one year.

A DUI conviction also carries with it a requirement to have an ignition interlock (breathalyzer) installed in a car for one year, at a cost of $1,300. Imagine the shame and embarrassment of having to use a breathalyzer every time you drive.

According to the MTO, the total minimum costs for a convicted impaired driver are $18,128, which includes increased insurance premiums for all your passenger and recreational vehicles. That figure does not include property damage, loss of employment income and uninsured medical costs.

Besides the financial costs, a DUI conviction could negatively affect one’s job and career, and it can pose restrictions on travelling to other countries. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, “multiple DUI convictions or a DUI conviction in combination with other misdemeanour offences can make a person inadmissible.”

Many responsible individuals make our roads and highways safer. I’m thinking of the police officers who operate the RIDE programs and the drivers who arrange alternate transportation for themselves, thus setting a good example for others.

On behalf of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), enjoy the holiday season and please use your good judgment when driving.

Once again, the TADA is proud to support Prostate Cancer Canada. This year, our Association has donated two 2020 Toyota Supras — a GR Supra in Nocturnal black and a GR Supra in Renaissance red (valued at $152,000 combined). The Rock The Road Raffle draw will take place Feb. 21 at the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow. For ticket information, visit rocktheroadraffle.ca.

This column represents the views and values of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association. Write to president@tada.ca or go to tada.ca. Cliff Lafreniere is president of the TADA and of Pinewood Park Motors (Ford) in Kirkland Lake. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.

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