New drivers are classified as anyone with a Learner or Novice licence, or anyone under the age of 22, and they make up 9 per cent of the driving population in the province. 

They’re also disproportionately more likely to be suspended for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  

SGI’s April Traffic Safety Spotlight focused on impairment in new drivers. Over one third of all suspensions related to alcohol and drug use last month were for new drivers. 

“We saw a total of 316 administrative suspensions for alcohol or drugs, and of those, 113 of them were for new drivers,” explained Tyler McMurchy, manager of media relations with SGI.  

For the 113 suspensions for new drivers, 49 related to alcohol and 64 were related to drugs. 

Among the 203 experienced drivers receiving suspensions, 77 were related to alcohol, and 126 were related to drugs.  

An additional 170 drivers received impaired driving charges for offences under the Criminal Code.  

There is zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use for those classified as new drivers. “If somebody fails one of those tests, they can be issued a licence suspension, and a vehicle impoundment, and face some other consequences as well,” said McMurchy. 

A first offence licence suspension for a new driver related to alcohol or drugs is 60 days, increasing with repeat offences, along with a 3-day vehicle impoundment, weekend course, and demerits.  

"For an experienced driver, a provincial suspension is three days, and then all the other same consequences,” said McMurchy.  

Exceeding Criminal Code limits can result in fines, jail time, longer driving prohibitions, and ignition interlock requirements.  

“This isn’t about spoiling anyone’s good time – we just want to remind all drivers, including new ones, that you’ve always got options to find a safe ride home.” 

Last month’s Spotlight also saw drivers receive: 

  • 4,203 tickets for speeding or aggressive driving 
  • 381 tickets related to lack of seatbelt, booster, or car seat use 
  • 573 tickets for distracted driving (465 related to cell phone use)