Driving While Impaired
Driving any vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is dangerous and against the law. Manitoba’s tough impaired driving laws apply when operating all motor vehicles including implements of husbandry, special mobile machines, tractor and off-road vehicles, as well as vessels*, aircrafts and railway equipment, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
*A vessel includes all craft usually larger than a row boat designed to navigate on water, including hovercrafts.
Impaired driving laws
Manitoba continues to have among the toughest penalties in Canada for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Zero blood alcohol concentration restriction - Novice drivers who violate the zero blood alcohol concentration restriction (less than .05) will:
- receive an immediate 24-hour roadside suspension
- be required to attend a show cause hearing with our Driver Improvement and Control Program to determine further sanctions
- be required to pay a driver’s licence reinstatement charge
Tiered Administrative Licence Suspensions - Drivers operating a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between .05 and .08 or who fail a physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation are subject to an immediate Tiered Administrative Licence Suspension. Tiered Administrative Licence Suspensions are progressively longer suspensions ranging from 72 hours to 60 days depending on how many previous suspensions have been issued to the driver within a 10-year period.
Receiving a Tiered Administrative Licence Suspension moves a driver down the Driver Safety Rating scale five levels. Drivers who receive this suspension may also be subject to a Driver Improvement and Control intervention. This could range from a warning letter to a show cause hearing, at which time a further driver’s licence suspension would be considered. They would also be required to pay a driver’s licence reinstatement charge.
Drivers receiving two or more suspensions within a 10-year period are also required to complete an Impaired Driver Assessment at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) at their own expense.
Three-month Administrative Licence Suspension - Drivers found with a blood alcohol concentration over .08, who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample to police, who refuse to perform a physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation, or who refuse to follow a police officer’s instructions regarding either test will receive an immediate three-month Administrative Licence Suspension. Receiving this suspension lowers a driver’s rating on the Driver Safety Rating scale by five levels and requires payment of a driver’s licence reinstatement charge.
Additional consequences may include:
- being charged under the Criminal Code of Canada
- vehicle impoundment (except special mobile machines)
- a mandatory Impaired Driver Assessment at your expense
- participation in Manitoba’s Ignition Interlock Program
Criminal Code offences – Criminal Code offences include the following:
- driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- driving with a blood alcohol concentration over .08
- impaired driving causing bodily harm or death
- refusing to perform a physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation or refusing to follow a police officer’s instructions regarding either test
In addition to an immediate roadside suspension, the penalties for drivers convicted of an impaired driving-related Criminal Code offence include:
- moving an additional five or 10 levels down the Driver Safety Rating scale
- a minimum fine of $1,000
- possible imprisonment
- a minimum one year of court-imposed driving prohibition
- mandatory driver’s licence suspension under The Highway Traffic Act for one year to life
- mandatory participation in Manitoba’s Ignition Interlock Program
- possible vehicle forfeiture
Note: A discharge under the Criminal Code for certain driving-related offences may be treated as a conviction under The Highway Traffic Act.
Tranquillizers, antidepressants, sleeping pills and similar drugs can affect driving ability even if taken in the prescribed dosage. If you drive while impaired by any medication, you can be charged with impaired driving and face the same consequences as if you were impaired by alcohol. Discuss the possible effects of any medication with your doctor or pharmacist.
Illicit drugs may cause hallucinations, hostility and aggressiveness in addition to dulling normal thought processes and slowing down eye-hand coordination. If you are found to be driving while under the influence of illegal drugs, you will be charged with impaired driving.
Never mix drugs and alcohol - even in small quantities.
For information contact:
Addictions Foundation of Manitoba
Phone: 204-944-6200 or toll-free 1-866-638-2561
What can you do to prevent other people from driving while impaired?
When you host a party, you can also take steps to discourage guests from driving home if they have had too much to drink. Here are some suggestions:
- Set up “house rules” that make driving home after drinking too much not acceptable. Tell your guests about these rules before they arrive. Then they can make alternative plans for going home if they plan to drink.
- Offer guests fruit juices, mineral water and soft drinks as alternatives to alcoholic beverages.
- Don't serve "one for the road". It's a good idea to close the bar at least one hour before the party ends. Encourage guests to stay for a while by serving food and tea, coffee or other non-alcoholic beverages.
- Have enough spare cash on hand to lend to friends for taxi fare.
- Be prepared to have some guests stay overnight if necessary. A little inconvenience and embarrassment (theirs, not yours) is far better than risking impaired driving.
You don't have to stop with just yourself or family and friends. Those of you who belong to groups or clubs can challenge other members to share a leading role in preventing impaired driving. Many groups and organizations sponsor parties and other social events where alcohol is served. All members can participate in making sure no one drives after drinking. People can take turns not drinking so they may drive others home.