Tougher penalties for impaired drivers now in effect
On Aug. 30, RCMP officers reminded drivers about changes to Alberta’s impaired driving law, which took effect Sept. 1.
Drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .05 to .08 will have their vehicles seized for three days and will lose their license for the same period of time for a first offence.
For subsequent offences, the length of the license suspension and vehicle seizure will increase and an educational course will be required.
Corporal Darrin Turnbull of the Airdrie Integrated Traffic Unit, which polices Airdrie, Beiseker, Didsbury and Highway 2 from Calgary city limits north to the Didsbury overpass, said the changes will be enforced.
“We are going to be out there and we hope we don’t have to respond to any serious injuries,” said Turnbull at a press conference in Balzac, Aug. 30.
“We are going to do everything we can to reach that goal and that means enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.”
Turnbull said the legal limits of .05 was put in effect in 1999. However, the sanctions against drivers blowing in that range was a 24-hour license suspension, much less than the three-day penalties that took effect Sept. 1.
In the past five years, more than 42,000 24-hour suspensions were issued across the province.
Turnbull said the majority of citizens he has spoken to have been in favour of the tougher rules.
“When we do check stops… the general public is extremely happy to see us,” he said.
“They know that our presence is making the roadway safer. That is what they really want. They want to be sure that when they drive home that they are going to make it home.”
Turnbull said alcohol, speed and aggressive driving, occupant restraints and intersections are key priorities for local officers.
“When we look at serious injury and fatal collisions, alcohol is a factor in a lot of those collisions, as well as occupant restraints… the speed of vehicles and intersections are a leading cause of collisions in our area,” he said, adding that police were out in full force this weekend and will be in weeks to come.
Tougher penalties for drivers with blood alcohol concentrations greater than .08 and for graduated licence drivers with any amount of alcohol discovered came into effect July 1.
For more information about the changes, visit www.knowthelimits.ca