Alberta to strengthen impaired driving laws

New laws coming into force next month to deter impaired driving, reduce collisions, save lives

Alberta to strengthen impaired driving laws

Last fall, the Government of Alberta passed An Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol-Impaired Driving. As part of this bill, new impaired driving laws will come into effect on April 9, 2018. 

"The loss and suffering that result from impaired driving are unacceptable and entirely preventable," said Alberta Minister of Transportation Brian Mason. "As the country prepares for legalization of cannabis, we’ve strengthened our provincial impaired driving sanctions to make our roads safer and continue to deter impaired driving—whatever the source of impairment may be."

A variety of new impaired driving laws will come into effect to make roads a safer place. 

First, all criminally impaired drivers (drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or over, drivers impaired by drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs and drivers who fail or refuse to comply with a demand for a breath or blood sample) will receive a 90-day licence suspension followed by mandatory participation in a one-year ignition interlock program. Should the driver choose not to participate in ignition interlock, the licence suspension will remain in place during this one-year term.

Also, there will be zero tolerance for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program drivers for cannabis and illegal drugs in the bloodstream, in addition to alcohol. GDL drivers found with any amount of alcohol, cannabis, illegal drugs or their combination will find the driver subject to a 30-day licence suspension, seven-day vehicle seizure and a lengthened term in the GDL program. 

"The Alberta RCMP is committed to raising awareness of the devastation experienced by individuals, families and communities that all too often result from driving impaired. We will continue to take impaired drivers, whether by drugs or alcohol, off Alberta roadways and anticipate these laws will help more people think twice about getting behind the wheel if they are under the influence," said officer in charge, Alberta Integrated Traffic Services, Supt. Gary Graham.

Drivers are to be cautioned that these are provincial sanctions and drivers will continue to be subject to criminal charges and all the associated penalties imposed by the courts, in addition to the provincial consequences, if need be.

Updates have been made to the Alberta Transportation Safety Board’s procedures, in light of these legal changes.

Between 2006 and 2015, 1001 people died as a result of alcohol or drug-impaired driving, and more than 15,000 people were injured.