Impaired Driving and Car Insurance

By now, most people know how unacceptable it is to drink and drive and that you should never get in a vehicle with someone that has been drinking or has consumed cannabis. But what is drinking and driving and how can it affect your car insurance? Let’s break it down.

What is Impaired Driving?

The government of Ontario defines drinking and driving, aka impaired driving as, “operating a vehicle while your ability to do so has been compromised to any degree by consuming:

  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medication and
  • Illegal substances”

Not only can you be charged while operating a vehicle, but impaired driving also applies to operating a boat, snowmobile, jet ski, and off-road vehicles like an ATV.

What is the legal limit in Ontario?


Ontario has a zero-tolerance law for young and novice drivers. You cannot have any alcohol in your system if you are under the age of 21, or a driver with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license. If you are a fully licensed driver (G), the maximum BAC (blood alcohol content) is .08. Any higher is a criminal offense.


Ontario’s zero-tolerance laws for young and novice drivers also applies to consuming cannabis. It is recommended that you wait between 4 – 6 hours after consuming cannabis to then operate a motorized vehicle. Learn more about how cannabis affects your driving at:

How does an Impaired Driving charge affect my car insurance?

Depending on your insurance carrier will depend on how they handle your impaired driving charge. Some may cancel your policy, but most insurance companies will increase your premium rate. Drivers with a DUI on their record can pay up to 5 times more on their car insurance compared to drivers with a clean record. Insurance companies can also drop you if you do not disclose your DUI so it’s always best to be open and honest.

Summer is the time for camping, cottages, and road trips. Have fun this summer but make sure to plan ahead if you are going to consume alcohol or cannabis so you can keep yourself and those around you safe. To learn more about impaired driving in Ontario visit:

don't drink and drive