Ontario Young Drivers

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If you're getting your license any time soon, and live in the province of Ontario, you may want to watch the upcoming headlines closely. It seems Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to step a little further into your life. There is legislation, being looked at right now, that will limit you extensively when it comes to getting about and living your life. That includes going to school, going to work, going to a movie, going to the mall, or going to a bar. If you were planning on helping out and being a designated driver for your friends, think again.

What is this legislation, you ask? Well before I tell you, keep in mind that it is proposed to affect all new drivers between the ages of 16 and 22. Yup, you read that right, 22! You might be an adult at 19, but you aren't good enough, smart enough or old enough to decide what's right for yourself. Anyway, to the legislation. The legislation proposes that:

  • There is a zero blood alcohol limit up to age 21 (inclusive).
  • Escalating sanctions for drivers in this category who speed, starting with a 30 day suspension.
  • Drivers between 16 and 19 (inclusive) may only have 1 other teenage passenger.

Zero Blood Alcohol Limit - I can kind of see that, I don't agree with it, but I've seen worse than requiring new drivers to be fully alert. I mean, that doesn't, of course, stop you from taking a Tylenol 3 and driving, or being tired and driving, or even driving while being emotionally distraught, for some reason or another. It's not going to stop someone, who was planning on doing it anyway and there's already legislation on the books saying that you can be pulled over for driving under the influence. Police can already stop you if you aren't driving with due care or if you are being erratic, do we really need something that says they can pull you over because you look like a new driver and they feel like testing whether or not you have had a drink?

Escalating Sanctions for Drivers - You know, there really are worse things than speeding. Really are. I have met many people who cannot, for the life of them, drive in a straight line. I have had drivers stop for green lights. I have had drivers slam on their breaks because the light went yellow. I have had drivers panic because a police officer turned their lights on behind them. I have seen drivers drive with no headlights. I have seen drivers drive with only high beams on. I have seen people driving at night with no tail lights! Seriously, can we deal with something other than speeding. I would much rather be in front or behind someone who is speeding, but otherwise driving safely, then deal with so many of the geniuses out there who are doing any of the above, but are driving the speed limit and, therefore, think it's ok. I will admit to speeding, quite regularly actually. I will admit that people doing 10 under the speed limit, or doing exactly the speed limit, only exacerbates my speeding and frustrates me to the point of wanting to speed more than I had originally planned. Drive to the conditions and drive safely and for the sake of all things good, turn on your lights!

Only One Teenage Passenger - Now this one really, really, really annoys me. I had to deal with a similar legislation on the books in British Columbia while I was in the "Novice" stage of getting my license. It is frustrating, to me, to no end. Granted, there is a higher rate of accidents for teenagers that have other teenage passengers. Really, though, this is nothing more than age discrimination. There are plenty of new drivers out there, that I would trust more to drive me around, than I would some of the people that I know who have been driving for 10 years! What about the good kids out there that wish to be a designated driver? You are telling me they can, now, only drive one friend home at a time? Do you really believe they are going to go with that? Do you really believe they are going to care what your law says when they now need 5 designated drivers for 10 friends, instead of 2 or 3? You cannot paint everyone with the same brush! It is wrong on so many levels. If this goes through, then I suggest legislation that bans all people over the age of 45 from becoming a politician, because apparently they have a higher rate of being out of touch with society and people in general.

Has anyone ever thought, instead of all the negative reinforcement of ticketing bad habits, to reward good habits? I have found, time and time again, that people respond to positive reinforcement far better, and with a higher rate of success, than they do to negative reinforcement. Hint to those hard working police officers out there: get your department heads to start loading you up with $5 Tim Hortons and Starbucks gift certificates and the next time you see me driving well, pull me over, tell me what I did that impressed you, give me a choice of GC's and send me on my way! I will, most likely, have a smile on my face and will be encouraged to continue the same good, impressive, behaviour that got me that certificate, in an effort to attain a second one! Hey, I like my Tim Hortons!

I really hope that, if you are a new driver, or about to be, in that province, that you take this as a call to action! Contact your Premier's office and complain. If you don't live in the province, but know someone who might be affected there by such legislation, call them and let them know what's going on. They need to be aware of this, as it affects them greatly! The Premier's office can be contacted at:

Online Contact Form


Main Legislative Building, Room 281,
Queen's Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1
Phone: (416) 325-1941
Fax: (416) 325-3745

Well, that's my thoughts for today. If you have thoughts on the matter, leave them below! I'd love to hear from you!


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