The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit on Prince Edward Island is 0.80 mg or 0.08% gram. This limit is equivalent to two to three alcoholic drinks depending on your age, gender, size, and other factors.
Based on statistics, impaired driving cases in Prince Edward Island have been rising in the last decade.
The PEI government is strictly implementing impaired driving laws to minimize drink-and-drive accidents.
While it is not illegal to drink and drive on Prince Edward Island, there is a restriction on the quantity of alcohol that can be consumed before driving. If alcohol or drugs even remotely impair your driving ability, you are breaking the law.
Please be informed that the goal of this post is mainly educational and not an encouragement to drink and drive.
If you must travel after drinking, we recommend using a cab or hiring a designated driver. It is also critical to stay up to date on impaired driving rules. Therefore visiting Prince Edward Island’s official website frequently is necessary.
Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving on Prince Edward Island
While it is still best to avoid drinking before driving, it is not totally illegal to consume alcohol and drive. However, there are certain limitations to blood alcohol content.
In Prince Edward Island, the government enforces penalties for drivers whose BAC is .08% (80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood) and above. Following the Criminal Code of Canada and the Prince Edward Islands’ Highway Traffic Act, consequences and penalties are imposed.
Each individual reacts differently to alcohol. Your BAC might differ depending on several factors, including:
- an empty stomach
- fatigue level
- consumption rate
Even a tiny amount of alcohol might lead some people to get intoxicated. Regardless of how much you drink, assessing your driving capacity is critical. To determine your blood alcohol levels, use a reliable alcohol breathalyzer.
Punishments for Drinking and Driving on Prince Edward Island
In 2020, Prince Edward Island convicted 243 offenders for impaired driving.
While the legal BAC level is 0.08%, you can be charged with a criminal offense if you are under the legal BAC limit but are driving negligently with alcohol in your body. Police officers in Prince Edward Island have the authority to suspend driver’s licenses if their BAC exceeds 0.05% or 0.50 mg.
Administrative actions are not criminal charges and do not appear on your criminal record; nevertheless, suspension violations can result in criminal prosecution.
A blood alcohol percentage of 0.05% raises the risk of getting involved in an accident. The higher your BAC, the higher the risk of getting into an accident.
A study revealed that a 0.05% BAC level could cause considerable impairment and affects driving ability. Attention, perception, psychomotor skills, and reaction time can all be affected.
A BAC level of 0.05% compromises a person’s ability to drive. If a motorist is drunk and has a BAC level of more than 0.05%, the risk of a vehicle crash is higher.
Even after enforcing strict regulations, impaired driving remains Canada’s top criminal cause of death and injury.
Learning about Prince Edward Island’s impaired driving penalties will help you understand and adhere to the law.
License Suspension and Driving Prohibition
Cancellation of your driver’s license under the Highway Traffic Act of Prince Edward Island:
- One year for the first offense
- Three years for a second offense
- Five years for third and subsequent offenses
At the end of your license cancellation period, you will not automatically receive your driver’s license back. You must reapply and pay a reinstatement fee of $750. You must also comply with the following:
- You must finish the Highway Safety Division’s driver’s rehabilitation course — a five-hour training session on the effects of drugs and alcohol and impaired driving.
- You are put on Administrative Probation for one year and must abide by the requirements of the Probation Order.
- You must meet with a driver improvement officer and undergo a driver risk assessment. If the evaluation shows that you are a “high-risk,” you will be directed to Addiction Services for an examination and recommendations on treatment programs. If your re-offending risk is deemed “low” or “medium,” you will be placed in the rehabilitation program for drivers.
- Before you can request to have your license reinstated, you must first finish the prescribed program.
- You are put on Administrative Probation for 2 to 5 years and must abide by the Probation Order.
Third and subsequent offenses
- An Addiction Services counselor must evaluate you. If the counselor concludes that you have a drug or alcohol problem, you must undergo the suggested treatment.
- If the Registrar of Motor Vehicles believes your driving condition has not improved or if they consider you to be “a risk,” they may refuse to reinstate your driver’s license.
- You are put on Administrative Probation for ten years and must abide by the requirements of the Probation Order.
The court may impose a Driving Prohibition Order following the Criminal Code of Canada as part of the sentencing.
- One year minimum for the first offense
- Minimum two years for the second offense
- Minimum three years for third and subsequent offenses
The timeframes indicated are simply guidelines and can be extended by the court depending on the gravity of the offense.
The Prohibition Order prohibits using all motorized vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorbikes, mopeds, ATVs, snowmobiles, tractors, etc. In PEI, convicted criminals also face jail time, significant penalties ($1000 or more), and a Victims of Crime Surcharge payment.
Ignition Interlock Device
All drivers convicted of drunk driving in PEI must use an ignition interlock device.
- One year for the first offense
- Three years for a second offense
- Ten years for third and subsequent offenses
If the driver has a passenger under the age of 16 in the car at the time of the impaired charge, the necessary Ignition Interlock term is extended by one year.
After completing the necessary ignition interlock term, the driver is given a 3-year Restricted ZERO BAC Driver’s License. Operating a motor vehicle with any level of alcohol in your system while possessing a Restricted Zero BAC Driver’s License is illegal.
In Prince Edward Island, your vehicle may be impounded for six months if charged with the following:
- Any offense under Canada’s Criminal Code involving a motor vehicle in which there is death or severe harm, or
- an offense under the Criminal Code of Canada for impaired driving, and a previous conviction for death or serious injury within the last ten years,
- or an offense under Canada’s Criminal Code for impaired driving, and there have been two or more similar convictions in the previous ten years.
When Can You Drink and Drive on Prince Edward Island?
Alcohol’s effects can vary from person to person. Each person has a different alcohol tolerance, and our bodies process alcohol differently. You can have a better understanding by using a BAC calculator but do not rely on it.
The information given below is based on research. However, it may not apply to everyone.
How Many Beers Can You Consume and Drive on Prince Edward Island?
If you are a 72 kg (160 lbs) man drinking one 341 ml (12 oz.) glass or bottle of beer can have a BAC level of 0.02%. Consuming two servings of beer in an hour will get you a BAC level of 0.05%. Drinking three beers will most likely increase your BAC beyond the legal limit.
Two beers may cause a BAC level of 0.06% for a woman weighing the same. Thus, it is advisable not to drink more than one glass or bottle of beer within an hour for a woman.
How Much Wine Can You Drink on Prince Edward Island?
One 142 ml (5oz.) glass of wine may contain 12% alcohol. Using the same example, a man weighing 72 kg can have a BAC level of 0.05% after drinking two glasses of wine.
On the other hand, a woman with the same weight may have a BAC level of 0.06% after drinking the same amount of wine.
How Many Shots of Vodka or Whiskey Can You Drink and Drive on Prince Edward Island?
Drinking 40 ml (1.25 oz) of vodka or whiskey may cause a 72 kg (160 lbs) man to have a BAC level of 0.02%. In contrast, a woman with the same weight can have a BAC level of 0.03% after drinking vodka or whiskey of the same amount. Thus, it is not advisable to consume spirits beyond one drink.
Obeying Impaired Driving Laws on Prince Edward Island
Driving intoxicated is not an excuse, as there are plenty of transportation options to travel safely.
It is still best to avoid driving even if you only have a few drinks. You may be confident that you are still within the BAC legal limit. However, taking safety measures is highly recommended.
You can call a friend to drive you, hail a cab, or take public transportation or taxis. If driving after drinking is really unavoidable, ensure that your BAC level is within the legal limit.