POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 55 ANSWERS: Facts about Impaired Driving 1. You can't be charged with a drinking-driving offence if your BAC is below the legal limit. False: You can be charged with a criminal offence for driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, regardless of your BAC. 2. A police officer can suspend your driver's licence immediately for a drinking-driving offence. True: In most provinces, a police officer can suspend a driver's licence for 12 or 24 hours if you register a "Warn" on an approved screening device. In addition, in some provinces, a police officer can, on behalf of the registrar of motor vehicles, suspend your licence for 90 days if you fail a breath test or refuse to provide a breath sample. 3. If you have one drink per hour, you don't have to worry about being over the legal limit. False: The "one drink per hour" rule only works for the first two or three hours. It does not work for women. Restrict yourself to no more than two drinks. Better yet, don't drink if you are going to drive. 4. You can't be charged with a drinking-driving offence if you are riding a snowmobile on your own property. False: Impaired driving laws apply to all types of motor vehicles regardless of where they are being operated. 5. An impaired driving charge isn't such a big deal. You simply pay the ticket and everything's fine. False: Impaired driving is a criminal offence. You will be photographed and fingerprinted. You must appear in court. Among other things, a conviction results in a criminal record. You can go to jail; for a second offence, you will go to jail. 6. Only young drinking drivers are at higher risk of crashing. False: Drinking drivers of all ages have an increased risk of crash involvement. In general, risk increases with BAC. However, the risk for young drivers increases much more rapidly due to their inexperience as drivers, peer pressure and the impact of even small amounts of alcohol. 7. The worst way to tell if someone has had too much to drink to drive safely is to ask them. True: This is one of the most unreliable ways to tell. A person's judgment is seriously affected by alcohol and they often overestimate their abilities. 8. If you think you've had too much to drink to be able to drive safely, you'll be OK if you have a cup of coffee or take a cold shower. False: Time is the only way to reduce your BAC. Depending on how much you have had to drink, it can take many hours for your BAC to return to zero. Safety Canada, July 2000 © 2006 Canada Safety Council Canada Safety Council C A N A D A ’ S V O I C E A N D R E S O U R C E F O R S A F E T Y