Alberta Strengthens Drunk Driving Laws With New Bill Effective July 1st, 2012
Posted by The Breathalyzer Team on 6/19/2012
to Canadian Law
Despite being met with a strong opposition last year, the Alberta government has successfully passed a new DUI bill, along side a $350,000 public education campaign set to roll out sometime in the near future.
Just in time for the July 1st long weekend this year, Alberta will be introducing new drunk driving penalties that will see anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.08 have their license suspended immediately and will not be able to have them reinstated until all charges and penalties are addressed and resolved. Alberta is the first province to introduce these quite possibly indefinite suspensions. Alberta is also planning to introduce a 72-hour mandatory suspension for drivers with BACs between 0.05 and 0.08 by September 1st 2012.
These are quite substantial changes from how Alberta’s DUI laws used to be. Under their Traffic Safety Act, Albertans used to receive only a minimum fine of $700 and a minimum 3-month license suspension for blowing over 0.08. Furthermore, drivers were able to get their licenses reinstated after only 3 months if they enrolled in Alberta’s “Ignition Interlock Program” and had a breathalyzer ignition device installed in their vehicle. Now, drivers convicted under federal law MUST have an ignition device installed for up to 5 years.
Many Edmonton restaurateurs are very concerned with the new bill and its effect on the success of their businesses, stating that it will deter their patrons from having even one drink on a night out. To this, Ric McIver, Alberta’s Transportation Minister replied on Monday, “It’s about reinforcing in the minds of Albertans that they need to take this seriously. They can go out and have a good time but they need to do it responsibly.” McIver has also stated that laws that were previously opposed in British Columbia are now being revised to mimic Alberta’s recently passed bill, hoping for approval. Perhaps this will be the beginning of some major changes in DUI laws and penalties nationwide.