Hit And Miss: What Is Impaired Driving And What Are The Impacts?

August 5, 2023

From fines to legal fees, court dates, demerits, and towing costs, DUIs can be quite costly not only financially, but can also take a psychological and emotional toll. Alcohol is known for its ability to ease social interactions, reduce anxiety, and bring about feelings of euphoria (an intensified feeling of wellbeing) when consumed. Once consumption become a priority in daily life and gets in the way of your day to day functioning is when the lines between casual and heavy or binge consumption start to blur. Excessive alcohol consumption is shown to compromise the driver’s ability to concentrate, slow reaction time, and impair judgement and coordination.

During the month of July, Peel Regional Police (PRP) have reported a spike in incidences of impaired drivers on the roads of Mississauga and Brampton. Between July 2-29, PRP report laying 27 charges of driving under influence (DUI), or impaired driving as early as 6:30 am going through to 8 pm. To specify, the Canadian Criminal Code defines impaired driving as:

  1. Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,
  2. while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
  3. having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood. (Criminal Code, 1985)

In Ontario, a DUI charge carries a hefty fine in addition to license suspensions for 1 year plus a $1000.00 fine following a first-time offence to a lifetime suspension and 120 days in jail after a 3rd charge.

It is important to consider the gravity of the potential consequences of impaired driving, but one has to wonder what brings a person to this point in their lives. Some questions to consider:

  • Have you found yourself unable to stop drinking once you’ve started?
  • Have you found drinking helps “bring you back to normal” during moments of stress or boredom?
  • Do you find yourself unable to recall how you got home from the establishment you began drinking at, or how much you consumed?
  • Are you unable to perform at work or school or run into conflicts around your drinking in your personal life?

Although many who enjoy alcohol in moderation may answer yes to one of these questions, persistent feelings of shame, guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness that worsen with consumption are indicative of a more complex relationship with alcohol that would benefit from exploration in therapy.

At CS Counselling Services under the leadership of founder Coslyn Selby, we specialize in private individual and family counselling addressing alcohol and substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and how to navigate legal proceedings with a healthy sense of self. We see both walk-in and referral clients, and offer services in Hindi, [Punjabi, Urdu] and English from CRPO & RSW-registered professionals. AT CS Counselling Services it is our goal to work with you and/or your loved one to provide clarity while developing skills to cope during an otherwise stressful and challenging time.

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