Impaired Driving

Driving impaired by drugs is just as common and equally as fatal as driving impaired by alcohol. If you drink or consume cannabis, DON’T get behind the wheel. It’s ILLEGAL.

New federal impaired driving laws, which are part of Bill C-46, are now in effect. Alcohol-related impaired driving laws are now comparable with drug-impaired driving laws.

Key changes

  • Police across Canada have the authority to use Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) on any driver lawfully stopped in Canada. The lawful stop may be used for any observed infraction, including a document check. The screening is done roadside, as quickly as possible. Failure or refusal of the Mandatory Alcohol Screening carries the same penalty as driving while impaired.  

    • These stronger laws are similar to those in several other countries around the world. In Ireland, mandatory screening reduced the number of road deaths by about 40 per cent in the first four years it was enforced.
  • Police officers can test drivers for impairment by using any device approved by the attorney general.
  • Maximum penalties for many alcohol-impaired driving offences have increased.
  • Maximum prison terms have increased from five to 10 years for many impaired driving offences.
  • The Crown can seek dangerous offender designations for dangerous drivers, impaired drivers, hit-and-run drivers and people convicted of fleeing the police.

Want to learn more? Visit the following websites:

Government of Canada - Impaired Driving

Alberta Transportation's SafeRoads


Impaired driving is impaired driving, no matter what the substance may be.

According to federal statistics, an average of almost four people die in Canada daily due to impaired driving. 

Research from the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction shows that, on average, cannabis use doubles the risk of being involved in a collision.

They found that driving skills are negatively affected after consuming cannabis, including the reduced ability to:

  • track moving objects
  • respond to more than one source of information
  • respond to sudden changes in the driving environment

The risk of collision greatly increases if cannabis is consumed with alcohol. Mixing alcohol and drugs such as cannabis significantly increases impairment. In Alberta:

  • 24.1 per cent of all road fatalities involved a driver who tested positive for both alcohol and drugs in 2013
  • 389 people were killed and 5,969 people injured in alcohol-related collisions between 2013 and 2015

Source: Government of Alberta Transportation

Related Pages

Last edited: January 4, 2021