Tougher Penalties Announced To Curb Impaired Driving
Manitoba already has some incredibly punishing impaired driving laws: Automatic licence suspensions, vehicle impoundment, and higher insurance premiums through a decrease in the Driver Safety Rating (DSR)—all of this alongside the fines and jail time that can be imposed under Canada’s Criminal Code.
As of August 1st, in conjunction with Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), a new form of penalty has been in place to curb impaired driving—a lapse in third-party liability coverage for impaired drivers.
Let’s look at what third-party liability (TPL) coverage is, what the coverage changes will be, and what you should do if you’re ever charged with impaired driving:
What Is Third-Party Liability Coverage?
Manitoba Public Insurance includes third-party liability protection in all of its insurance plans. The basic premise is simple—if you’re in an accident, and that accident causes damage to personal or public property or injury to a person, the property owner or injured person can pursue you for damages in court.
With third-party liability coverage, MPI can help cover the costs of damage to another person’s property—this is especially common when car accidents occur. At the Basic level, MPI covers up to $500,000 in damages, though this coverage can be increased. This protection helps drivers when they’re pursued for costs related to injuries and court costs.
How Coverage Has Changed
As of August 1st, 2023, third-party liability coverage no longer protects impaired drivers. This means that if an impaired driver causes damage to another vehicle (or any other kind of property), or injury to another person, they will have to pay the costs related to that damage or those injuries out of pocket.
Manitoba Public Insurance is still committed to protecting Manitobans—it doesn’t want to create a scenario where a Manitoban has been injured or had their property damaged by an impaired driver but cannot receive compensation. To resolve this, MPI will continue to pay out third-party liability claims but will then ask the impaired driver for reimbursement of those costs.
Consequences for Impaired Drivers
The consequences for impaired drivers are severe—there’s a reason that the basic liability limit is $500,000. Liability claims can be in the millions of dollars, making bankruptcy a likely consequence of any liability claim against an impaired driver.
From MPI’s perspective, the decision makes sense—it gets to continue to protect Manitoba residents while lowering costs by passing liability claims onto impaired drivers.
You should know that these new rules do not apply to the Personal Injury Protection Plan and that MPI can still reimburse drivers, impaired or not, for injuries they suffer on the road.
This change makes the financial consequences of impaired driving even more severe—and they were already quite punishing. When you’ve been charged with impaired driving, it’s important to find a lawyer who can help you beat the charges; doing so may give you access to your third-party liability insurance again.
Looking for a DUI lawyer in Winnipeg? Call Matt Gould today.