A Drink Can Be Very Expensive

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

December 13, 2002 2:54 PM

'Tis the season to be merry, but celebrate responsibly.

That's the message from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations as the holiday season unfolds.

"Quite apart from the danger they create, people who drink and
drive face severe penalties including fines, loss of driving
privileges and jail time," said Paul Arsenault, registrar of
Motor Vehicles.

The cost of taking a taxi, staying in a hotel or having a
designated driver may seem high, but it's inexpensive when
compared to the cost of a drunk-driving conviction.

Penalties have increased in Nova Scotia over the last couple of
years, with fines ranging from $600 to $2,000.

First-time offenders lose their driver's licence for a year;
additional convictions within 10 years carry longer losses of
driving privileges. Upon a fourth conviction, the driver's
licence is revoked permanently, and the offender could go to jail
for up to five years.

Before any driver can apply to have a revoked licence reinstated,
they must complete an Addiction Services assessment program,
which costs them $365. There is also a $100 licence-reinstatement

And as the province has increased its penalties for impaired
driving, it has also increased prosecutions. For the year ending
March 31, 2001 alone, prosecutions were up more than 11 per cent.

"Police are catching more impaired drivers and the courts are
getting tougher with people who drink and drive. There seems to
be less tolerance and less public sympathy for drunk drivers,"
said Mr. Arsenault.

The cost to the individual convicted of drunk driving is high,
but the cost to society is higher and rising. Nova Scotia saw 537
alcohol-related collisions in 2001, according to the Department
of Transportation and Public Works. That year, 25 people died and
344 were injured in alcohol-related collisions. There were 527
collisions which resulted in 25 deaths and 372 injuries in 2000.

"The amount of alcohol that causes impairment varies from person
to person, sometimes from day to day," said Mr. Arsenault.
"People can register between .05 and .08 on a breathalyser after
only one drink. A driver who blows in that range faces a 24-hour
roadside licence suspension when they're pulled over. When a
driver registers .08, they are legally drunk and face the full
brunt of the law."


     'Tis the season to be merry, but celebrate responsibly says

the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

     In the past year, Nova Scotia's Justice Department

prosecuted 11 per cent more drunk drivers.

     Impaired drivers face fines of up to two thousand dollars, a

365-dollar addiction-treatment program, a 100-dollar licence

-reinstatement fee and loss of driving privileges.

     Additional convictions carry stiffer penalties, including

the permanent loss of driving privileges.

     Alcohol tolerance varies from person to person and from day

to day. One drink can put someone over the limit.


Contact: Kevin Finch
         Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
         E-mail: finchkh@gov.ns.ca

kjd         December 13, 2002        2:53 P.M.