Why are you increasing suspensions?

On average, 22 Nova Scotians die each year in alcohol related collisions. We know even a low blood alcohol content can pose a significant risk. This is another initiative to fight impaired driving in our province, along with the alcohol ignition interlock program and Campaign 911.

Do other provinces have a low blood alcohol suspension?

Yes, most other Canadian jurisdictions have .05 administration sanctions. Saskatchewan has .04.

What are the new penalties?

Licence suspensions will increase to seven days for a first suspension, 15 days for a second and 30 days for a third. People will also be required to pay a licence reinstatement fee of $91.42 each time a suspension occurs.

What were the penalties for driving with a blood alcohol content between of .05 and .08 before this new law?

Nova Scotia currently has a 24-hour roadside suspension for driving with a blood alcohol content of .05 to .08.

How is blood alcohol measured?

AC (blood alcohol concentration) is measured by indicating the number of milligrams of alcohol in/per 100 millilitres of blood. In Canada, the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (or 80mg%...or simply "80"). In Nova Scotia, suspensions are issued between 50 & 80.

How much can I drink and safely drive?

The amount of alcohol it takes to become impaired varies widely from individual to individual. The only safe way is not to drink if you are going to drive.

So why not have zero tolerance for alcohol?

We believe that implementing stronger penalties for those with a blood alcohol between .05 - .08 is a step in the right direction towards fighting impaired driving. For new drivers we already have zero tolerance as part of the Graduated Drivers License.

How much can I drink and still be under the legal limit?

Every drink impairs you. If you are under .05 but have consumed alcohol, you could still be charged with impairment. You can't calculate your alcohol limit, so don't try. It's important to remember that other factors play a part in impairment such as prescription and non-prescription drugs, fatigue, and metabolism.

What happens if I blow over .08?
  • You will be issued 90 day suspension and subject to reinstatement conditions.
  • You may be charged criminally with impaired driving or driving with a BAC over .08

If I'm involved in a collision but I blow under .05, I can't be charged for impaired driving, right?

No matter what you blow, if alcohol is determined to be a contributing factor in a collision, you could be charged. Any amount of alcohol impairs your ability to drive.

If I've been drinking the night before, is it ok to drive the next morning?

You may still be affected by alcohol the next day. You could still lose your license if you are over the legal limit. Neither a shower or a cup of coffee will help you sober up, only time.

What will happen if I'm convicted of impaired driving or of having a blood alcohol concentration over .08?
  • You will be issued a minimum $1,000 fine.
  • You will be prohibited from driving in Canada for a minium of one year.
  • Your license will be revoked under NS law for a minimum of one year.
  • You will be subject to license restoration requirements.