Having a driver's licence is a privilege, not a right. In Ontario, losing a licence is a whole lot easier than obtaining one, and it can be incredibly difficult to get it back once it's been taken from you.

That's why it's important for residents to know what the grounds are for the suspension or permanent seizure of driver's licences. According to the Ministry of Transportation's Driver's Handbook, driver's licences can be suspended if the driver is convicted of any of the following Criminal Code offences:

  • Driving while impaired under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 80 mg per 100 mL of blood (0.08)
  • Refusing to give a breath test for alcohol
  • Failing to remain at a scene of a collision
  • Intentionally driving dangerously
  • Causing bodily harm or death by criminial negligence
  • Failing to stop for police

The length of a suspension depends on the number of offences committed by the driver. A first offence will result in a one-year licence suspension, while a second offence will result in a three-year licence suspension.

After that, the punishments get more serious — for a third offence, a lifetime suspension from driving be issued, with a possibility of reinstatement after 10 years if the driver meets certain requirements. For a fourth offence, the driver will be banned from driving for life, with absolutely no possibility of reinstatement.

Convictions will also remain on you driver's record for a minimum of 10 years, but the court can order a longer suspension as long as they still deem you a threat to road safety. 

In the next few months, stricter impaired driving rules and distracted driving rules will be rolled out in the province to crackdown on unsafe driving practices. With a staggering increase in the number of crashes and deaths in recent years, Ontario drivers need start to avoiding aggressive habits and put safety first.

The moral of the story is: Drive safe, drive smart, and drive defensive. 

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