Alberta Changes the Impaired Driving Law - Bill 26
After a recent series of devastating accidents involving alcohol in Alberta, Premier Alison Redford is bringing change to that province’s drinking and driving laws, with the intent of making offenders more responsible for their actions.
Section 88 of the Alberta Traffic Safety Act states that if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe any person operating a vehicle has been drinking, the officer may request that a breath test be administered using an approved screening device. If the subject’s test reads 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (0.05%) at any time within 3 hours after having driven a motor vehicle, the police officer will serve a notice of suspension after requiring that the subject surrender his or her license.
Under section 253, the Criminal Code states that anyone caught with 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) can be criminally charged.
First time drunk driving offenders in Alberta will receive a three-day suspension combined with a three-day vehicle seizure.
Upon a second offense, a 15 day license suspension and vehicle seizure will take place, while a third offense will cause a 30 day suspension and a 30 day vehicle seizure.
These penalties do not include fines, but the subject will have to pay to get his or her vehicle back.
Aside from a 15 day suspension and vehicle seizure, anyone who receives a second suspension is required to complete the mandatory educational program, must abide by any terms laid out by the Registrar, and could also be subject to review.
Once a person who faces criminal charges relating to drinking and driving has his or her license reinstated, that person cannot operate a motor vehicle for one year without first using an alcohol sensing device. Second time offenders will need to keep an alcohol sensing device in their vehicles for three years, and third time offenders will require this device for five years.
Penalties for young drivers have also been heightened in Alberta. There already exists a zero-tolerance law for youth who drink and drive, but now, in addition to existing penalties, a youth caught driving under the influence of alcohol will receive a 30-day suspension, and for the first six months of driving after the offense, the youth cannot have more than one teen passenger in his or her vehicle, and will be restricted from driving between midnight and 5 a.m.
Make sure you have a quality personal breathalyzer at hand like the BACtrack Element to make sure you are completely safe to drive.