QUEBEC CITY, Dec. 4, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Holiday season is an appropriate time to remind motorists of the significant financial consequences of a first-time conviction for impaired driving. The direct and indirect costs to the offender are nearly $7,000—and that's just in the first year following the conviction. Added to that financial burden are other major disadvantages, for example if the offender wants to travel to the United States.
CAA-Quebec's detailed table illustrating the financial impacts of an initial impaired-driving conviction provides much food for thought.
A heavy financial burden, and a serious impact on the offender's life
Besides an immediate 90-day licence suspension, a motorist found guilty of impaired driving will be saddled with a criminal record, a one-year licence revocation, and plenty of complications if he or she wishes to travel to the United States.
"In addition to social stigma and serious punitive measures, a first offence carries with it a whole series of direct financial impacts," explains Sophie Gagnon, CAA-Quebec's Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs. "There is a minimum fine of $1,000 under the Criminal Code, the cost of evaluation and awareness sessions, which is around $500, and an increase in the private insurance premium of up to $2,300: the costs are considerable, and they add up fast!" Ms. Gagnon adds that the offender's private insurance premium can increase by more than 300% the first year, and will remain higher for several years.
Many indirect costs as well
Convicted drivers also face a long list of related financial costs: towing and impounding of the vehicle, possible installation of an ignition interlock device, legal fees, the cost of a new driver's licence, and fees for translation of documents required to enter the U.S. In addition, under the Criminal Code, the 90-day driving ban applies to all motor vehicles, including watercraft, snowmobiles and aircraft.
Alternative solutions for getting home are so easy to find!
To help make the roads safer, CAA-Quebec is partnering with Operation Red Nose from December 1 to 31. The rest of the year, more than 1,290,000 people in Quebec have access to CAA-Quebec Roadside Assistance, which includes Drive-You-Home service for members who are unable to get behind the wheel, whatever the reason.
"Other solutions, such as taxis and companies specialized in drive-home services, are always within reach," Ms. Gagnon concludes. "There is no reason to take even the slightest risk. When you think of the scale of the human tragedies caused by impaired driving and the impact on offenders' lives and pocketbooks, it's easy to make the right choice."
Hard-hitting statistics that warrant attention
Last year within City of Montreal territory alone, 1,908 people were arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Meanwhile, Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) estimates put the number of impaired-driving offences across the province in 2012 at nearly 9,000.
CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides automotive, travel, residential and financial services and privileges to its 1,290,000 members. As a leading advocate for road safety at every stage of life, its actions and services in this area include child car seat verification clinics, a school safety patroller program, and a network of driving schools. In addition, through its Foundation, the organization conducts a variety of awareness activities for secondary school students as well as seniors.
For further information: Anne-Sophie Hamel, Communications Advisor and Spokesperson, 514 861-7111, ext. 5478, [email protected]