McGuinty Government Reminds Drivers To Be Safe Over Canada Day Long Weekend



    Zero Tolerance For Drunk Drivers And Street Racers

    QUEEN'S PARK, June 30 /CNW/ - This Canada Day long weekend, the McGuinty
government is reminding Ontarians that drunk drivers and street-racers have no
place on Ontario's roads.
    "Keeping our communities and families safe is a priority for this
government," said Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield. "More people are
injured in drinking and driving collisions on July 1 than on New Year's Eve.
Our message is simple: do not street race and do not drive any vehicle - car,
boat or ATV - when impaired by alcohol or drugs."
    Drinking is a factor in about a quarter of all fatal crashes in Ontario
with twice as many people killed in drinking and driving related crashes in
the summer, compared to winter. In 2004, more than 40 per cent of all drinking
and driving fatalities occurred between May 1 and August 31.
    Drinking and operating a boat can be just as dangerous as drinking and
driving. In 2006, alcohol was a factor in about 38 per cent of fatal boating
incidents in Ontario. That's why in 2006, Ontario also passed legislation that
treats drinking and operating a boat the same way as drinking and driving a
vehicle.
    Earlier this year, the McGuinty government took action to strengthen
Ontario's response to drinking drivers and street racers. The Safer Roads for
a Safer Ontario Act, 2007, contains the toughest street-racing measures in the
country including:

    
    -   Increasing fines up to $10,000, the highest fine for street racers in
        Canada
    -   Allowing police to immediately suspend drivers' licences
    -   Impounding cars for seven days at roadside in cases where street
        racing, driving contests or stunt driving are suspected
    -   Banning driving on a highway with a connected nitrous oxide system.
    

    Ontario's new law also contains stronger penalties for drinking drivers
who have a 0.05 to 0.08 blood alcohol concentration ("the warn range"). Once
regulations are in place, sanctions will increase to a minimum three-day
suspension for a first occurrence. For a second instance, a new seven-day
suspension and remedial measures will be introduced. For a third or subsequent
infraction, sanctions will increase to a 30-day suspension, remedial measures
and a six-month ignition interlock device. Courts will be able to order the
seizure of vehicles from repeat drinking and driving offenders. The province
is also introducing a new early ignition interlock program for some Criminal
Code offenders.
    "Street racers and repeat drinking and driving offenders should know that
we will use all legal tools at our disposal, including criminal and civil
forfeiture of vehicles in appropriate circumstances, to ensure our roads are
safe," said Attorney General Michael Bryant. "Our government has had enough of
street racers and we will do everything we can to stop them, including asking
the courts to order the forfeiture of their vehicles."
    "We're targeting street racers, aggressive drivers and those who continue
to drive while drug or alcohol impaired," Ontario Provincial Police
Commissioner Julian Fantino said. "Too many motorists still insist on drinking
and driving and speeding. OPP officers are patrolling 24 hours a day,
seven-days-a-week in an effort to save lives and reduce injuries."
    "Our government is committed to keeping you safe. Through our road safety
laws and the continued efforts of our road safety partners, we are putting the
brakes on street racing and drunk driving. Whether you are heading out onto
the roads or waterways this holiday weekend, be responsible and drive safe and
sober," stressed Cansfield.

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.mto.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Jamie Rilett, Minister's
Office, (416) 327-9134; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158;
Public Inquiries: (416) 235-4686 (GTA), 1-800-268-4686 toll free,
1-866-471-8929 TTY

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