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What Is the 80MG Driving Rule?

Driving Tips
Jason Baxter

In Canada, there is an “over-80” or “80+” driving rule when it comes to operating conveyances.  It is a criminal offence to operate a conveyance with more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of your blood.  A conveyance is a new definition added in the Criminal Code as of 2018.  It includes a motor vehicle (anything with a motor), vessel (boat, canoe, kayak, etc), aircraft, or even railway equipment. If you are caught driving with more than 80 mg and you are charged, you will face immediate roadside penalties, and you could also be face additional Criminal Code charges such as, impaired driving charge, as well as the serious consequences it can carry.  However, despite the “over 80” or “80+” laws, in Ontario you can face penalties, such as roadside suspensions, vehicle impoundment, and additional sanctions if your blood alcohol concentration exceeds 50mg.

What Does Over 80mg Mean?

When you are consuming alcohol, there are various guidelines you can follow if you plan to operate a vehicle. Many factors, like weight, gender, body mass, food consumption, and time impact how much alcohol you can consume before reaching the 80 mg legal limit for operating a vehicle. 

When discussing the consumption of alcohol, one drink is considered the following:

  • One 12-ounce glass of beer (5% ABV)
  • One 5-ounce glass of wine (12% ABV)
  • One 1.5-ounce glass of spirits (40% ABV)

For women, here is an idea of how much they can consume:

  • Women weighing 57 kg or less can reach 80 mg by having a 2 drinks* 
  • Women weighing between 57-80 kg can reach 80 mg by having 3 drinks*

For men, here is an idea of how much they can consume:

  • Men weighing 68 kg or less can reach 80 mg by having 3 drinks*
  • Men weighing between 68-91 kg can reach 80 mg by having 4 drinks* 

* These are only estimates and is not legal advice or opinion.  The recommended safest practice is not to consume alcohol before driving.

Impaired Driving Is A Criminal Offence 

In Canada, impaired driving is a criminal offence.  If someone’s ability to operate a conveyance is negatively impacted by alcohol consumption that is impaired operation or impaired driving. You are not allowed to operate any vehicle, including trucks, cars, motorcycles, e-bikes, electronic motorcycles, motorboats, snowmobiles, skidoos, and off-roading vehicles, when under the influence. 

If you are charged with impaired driving, here are some of the penalties you could face:

  • Mandatory alcohol treatment programs;
  • A minimum fine of $1,000 + victim fine surcharges;
  • Prohibited and/or suspended driver’s license for at least 1-year;
  • Custody or jail of up to 14 years;
  • Having an ignition interlock device in your vehicle; and
  • Criminal Conviction

All of these penalties vary depending on whether it is a first offence or you have multiple impaired driving convictions. If it is not your first offence, the penalties become more severe. 

If you have been charged with impaired driving, the lawyers at X-Copper Law Firm are here to assist.  We can assist you with your charges and help to work toward you are looking to achieve.  For advice on your charges give one of our lawyers a call, we have offices across Ontario.


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