It’s likely a few wobbly drivers have already felt the wrath of the Alberta’s new impaired driving laws.
But the CEO of a major anti-drunk driving group doesn’t believe the new measures will have the same impact as similar laws introduced in B.C. in 2010.
“They certainly didn’t go as far as B.C., but this is a big step for Alberta,” Andy Murie with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said. “In B.C. — and we quite like this program — they give the option of going administratively or criminally for a first (.08) offence.”
B.C.’s administrative avenue sees an automatic 30-day vehicle and license suspension, but also requires the guilty driver to undergo an assessment for alcohol addition and install an ignition interlock system.
Alberta’s new law was introduced July 1 and invokes a license suspension on drivers with a blood-alcohol level over .08 until the matter is resolved in court.
It also includes a condition mandating the use of an interlock system for one year and the government is introducing “planning ahead” courses, but Murie remains unconvinced.
“There’s no focus in the Alberta program on the rehabilitation,” — Andy Murie, MADD CEO
B.C. officials have linked a 40 per cent reduction in fatal collisions involving alcohol to the institution of their new laws.
Alberta Transportation spokesperson Parker Hogan said there are no plans currently to add further to the new impaired laws, but the province would ideally like to see alcohol-related collisions reduced to zero.
Murie said MADD would also like to see the province hold off on issuing drivers licenses to Albertans until they are close to adulthood and put a zero-alcohol restriction on drivers until they have five years experience behind the wheel.