2024 New Brunswick’s Legal Alcohol Limits for Drivers

Drink and drive laws in New Brunswick Canada

In New Brunswick, the maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is capped at 0.05% or 50 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood.

This article aims to inform drivers about the BAC limit and impaired driving regulations in New Brunswick. We do not encourage driving after drinking alcohol. 

We recommend getting a cab or an Uber for travel after drinking. You can also hire a designated driver to transport you. 

Checking your province’s official website for updates about impaired driving laws is highly suggested.

What is the legal alcohol limit for driving in New Brunswick?

In New Brunswick, the legal limits for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while driving are set to ensure the safety of all road users. The limits vary depending on the driver’s age and license type, reflecting the province’s commitment to reduce impaired driving incidents. Below are the specified legal BAC limits for different categories of drivers:

  • Regular Drivers: The legal BAC limit is 0.05%. This applies to all drivers holding a full, unrestricted license.
  • Minor Drivers (Under 21 years old): It is illegal for these drivers to operate a vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, enforcing a zero-tolerance policy.

Drink and Drive Penalties and Punishments in New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol are significant and vary depending on the severity of the offence. The province enforces strict penalties to deter impaired driving and enhance road safety. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the penalties and punishments for different scenarios:

Short-Term Licence Suspensions

  • First Offence (within five years): 7-day suspension of the driver’s licence.
  • Second Offence (within five years): 15-day suspension.
  • Third or Subsequent Offence (within five years): 30-day suspension, a $230 licence reinstatement fee, and mandatory participation in a drinking driver education course. The driver will also qualify for the voluntary interlock program. Notably, from November 1, these suspensions will be recorded on the driving record, escalating penalties for repeat offences.

Impoundment Program

  • For BAC level within 0.05% to 0.08%:
    • First offence within five years: Vehicle impoundment for three days (discretionary).
    • Second offence within five years: Vehicle impoundment for seven days (discretionary).
    • Third or more offences within five years: Vehicle impoundment for seven days (mandatory).
  • For BAC level of over 0.08%:
    • First offence within ten years: Vehicle impoundment for 30 days (mandatory).
    • Subsequent offences within ten years: Vehicle impoundment for 60 days (mandatory).
  • Novice drivers violating the zero tolerance rule face a mandatory seven-day vehicle impoundment.

Mandatory Interlock Program

This program mandates the installation of an ignition interlock device for drivers convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada for alcohol-impaired driving offences. The device prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver’s BAC exceeds the set limit. From November 1, participation in this program becomes mandatory for all such offences, although it remains voluntary for those with 30-day short-term licence suspensions.

24-Hour Suspension for Driver Unfitness

Police have the authority to suspend a driver’s licence for 24 hours if they believe the driver poses a safety risk due to medical or other reasons. This discretionary power ensures immediate action can be taken to prevent potential harm.

These penalties underscore the seriousness with which New Brunswick addresses impaired driving. It’s crucial for drivers to stay informed about the latest regulations and consequences. The details of these penalties are subject to change, so we encourage everyone to frequently check the official state website for the most current information and updates on driving laws and penalties in New Brunswick.

How can I calculate if my alcohol blood limit is legal in New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, law enforcement officers use breathalyzers and blood tests to accurately measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. These methods are considered the most reliable for determining whether a driver is within the legal alcohol limit for driving. It’s crucial for drivers to be aware of their BAC levels to avoid impaired driving charges and ensure road safety. Here are two recommended ways to check your BAC level:

1. Use a High-Quality Alcohol Breathalyzer

A dependable method for self-assessing your BAC level is through the use of a high-quality alcohol breathalyzer. With my decade of experience as a phlebologist, I highly recommend the BACtrack S80. This device is known for its professional-grade accuracy and is both DOT & NHTSA approved and FDA 510(k) cleared. It’s a valuable tool for anyone in New Brunswick to have in their vehicle. Having a breathalyzer like the BACtrack S80 can provide a clear indication of your alcohol level, helping you make informed decisions about driving. It’s worth noting, however, that while highly accurate, no breathalyzer can guarantee 100% precision due to various factors that might affect the results.

2. Utilize a BAC Calculator

Another option is to use a BAC calculator, which I’ve developed in collaboration with other phlebologists and web developers. This online tool is designed to estimate your BAC level based on the amount of alcohol consumed, your weight, and the time elapsed since drinking. While this method does not provide the immediate physical measurement that a breathalyzer does, it can still offer valuable insight into how your body processes alcohol. Our calculator is an excellent resource for understanding how different factors influence your BAC level, potentially preventing you from driving when you might be over the legal limit.

Ways to Avoid Driving with a High BAC in New Brunswick

Driving with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is not only illegal in New Brunswick but also poses a significant risk to yourself and others on the road. Fortunately, there are practical solutions to avoid getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Here are some effective strategies:

1. Utilize Rideshare Apps or Local Taxi Services

One of the simplest ways to avoid driving under the influence is to use rideshare apps like Uber. These services offer a convenient and reliable means to get home safely without having to drive. Additionally, local taxi companies provide a similar level of convenience and safety. In Moncton, consider using Taxi Moncton, and in Fredericton, Jack Taxi is a reliable choice. These companies are familiar with the area and can provide safe transportation to your destination.

2. Order a Designated Driver Service

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve driven to a location and then consumed alcohol, leaving your car behind might not be desirable. In such cases, a designated driver service is an excellent option. These services offer a professional driver to safely drive you and your car home. In Moncton, A Safe Alternative Driving Service is a reputable provider. In Fredericton, DDrivers offers similar services. To find a designated driver service in your area, a quick online search for “designated driver service” along with your city name will yield useful results.

By following these recommendations, you can enjoy social events without compromising on safety. Remember, the goal is to ensure that everyone gets home safely, keeping New Brunswick roads safe for all.

Stick to New Brunswick’s Impaired Driving Laws

According to the CCMTA, approximately 25.5% of drivers in serious injury accidents in New Brunswick were impaired by alcohol. With various safe transportation alternatives available, there’s no justification for drunk driving. It’s crucial to avoid driving after consuming alcohol to protect yourself and others. Opting for a sober driver, taxi, or rideshare service like Uber is a safer choice. If driving is unavoidable, ensure your BAC is within legal limits, consulting the latest laws on the province’s official website and using a reliable breathalyzer for accuracy.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.

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