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Young Driver Launching Charter Challenge To Zero-Tolerance Law

A young driver is launching a Charter challenge to the zero-tolerance law that came into effect on Sunday.

The new legislation
makes it illegal for a driver 21 or under to consume any alcohol, regardless of their class of licence.

Any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream will mean a 24-hour licence suspension. If convicted, drivers could face a $60 to $500 fine and 30-day license suspension.

A second offence could result in a suspension for 90 days. A third offence could mean losing the licence altogether.

Kevin Wiener, 20, plans to file his application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Wednesday.

“I don’t have a problem with restricting blood alcohol. I don’t think anyone likes drinking and driving,” Wiener said.

“I think the problem is that they’re trying to react instead of crafting good balanced legislation that targets inexperienced drivers. They said let’s just look at young drivers, target them.”

Wiener argues that the law violates s. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which makes it unconstitutional for the government to discriminate based on age. All drivers in Ontario face at least a three-day licence suspension when their blood-alcohol level is more than 0.005.

But Carolyn Swinson of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the law should stand.

“The new law is really important because we know that age group is at a really high risk of the fatalities on the road,” she said.

“Every year in Canada, there are 400 people teens killed and out of those, 45 per cent will be alcohol-related.”