The holiday season brings with it a rush of festive gatherings that continue until the new year. There are plenty of occasions that call for driving home or running an errand in the middle of the night. Impaired driving increases significantly during the holidays, so we need to be extra careful. 

After stuffing yourself with turkey, sandwich loaf and yule log, nothing is better than washing it all down with a drink! Once you’ve had your fill, you’ll be tempted to ignore your condition and believe you’re fit to drive. That’s when things get complicated and your desire for speed and comfort takes over.

Drinking and driving: a dangerous mix 

As Christmas draws near, AMR Assurances Multi-Risques wants to raise awareness and remind you that drinking and driving–any kind of driving–don’t mix. Anyone can make a mistake at some point. But some mistakes have more serious consequences for you and your loved ones than others. 

Serious consequences 

Impaired driving, that is, driving with a blood alcohol level of more than 80 mg per 100 ml of blood, is an offence under the Criminal Code and the Highway Safety Code that affects the quality of work and family life for many people. 

Imagine having to tell your children that you can’t take them to an activity or to a friend’s house; imagine having to beg your colleagues or spouse to carpool to work every morning; imagine being bound by someone else’s schedule and being limited in where you can go. Public transportation is fine when it’s an option, but not when it’s a necessity! 

Legal consequences of drinking and driving 

Depending on your blood alcohol level, your licence will be suspended, and your vehicle seized, which will necessarily result in towing costs. Moreover, if your blood alcohol level is greater than or equal to 160 ml, other consequences will be added: you will be required to follow a Program to Assess and Reduce the Risk of Impaired Driving (PERRCCA) and, in some cases, to use an alcohol ignition interlock device. 

What about financial consequences? 

A licence suspension and vehicle seizure also involve paying fees. You will be fined for committing a violation. On top of the fine, depending on the situation, there will be towing and storage fees incurred when your vehicle is seized. If your case goes to court, legal fees will also be factored into the total amount you will have to pay as a result of the violation. 

Depending on your blood alcohol level, an evaluation may be required for you to get your driver’s licence back. Far from being free, this evaluation will involve out-of-pocket costs that will be added to your already steep expenses. 

Mom, my insurer cancelled my policy! 

Many insurers decide to cancel a customer’s insurance policy after they have been convicted of impaired driving due to increased risk. But other options remain available. There are insurers who specialize in what are called “substandard” cases. 

Are you having trouble getting insurance? Use an independent insurance broker.

This type of conviction will most certainly result in an increase in your insurance premium, and your insurance will be more limited. If you run into insurance problems, an independent insurance broker is the right person to advise you. The broker will be able to direct you to specialized insurers and give you advice on how to reduce insurance costs. Options such as using telematics, an application that tracks driving habits, could save you money if you are a good driver. 

In other words, to get the facts, it is best to contact an independent insurance broker with your SAAQ file in hand, be honest about your situation and trust the insurance specialists. They will be best able to help you. And remember, drinking and driving are not a good mix! Consider calling Operation Red Nose, Tolérance Zéro or a taxi. 

AMR Assurances Multi-Risques wishes you a safe and happy holiday season! 

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