Alberta implements indefinite license suspension for impaired drivers

I gotta say…Alberta has definitely got my attention.

In Canada, impaired driving kills between 1,250 and 1,500 people every year (that’s 4 people every single day) and injures more than 63,000. In Alberta alone, from 2006 to 2010, 569 people were killed and 8,530 people were injured in collisions involving impaired drivers. And this province is standing up and saying “NO MORE!”

As of July 1, 2012 (Canada Day) Alberta will become the first Canadian province to suspend an impaired driver’s license (driver found to have a blood alcohol over .08) immediately; a suspension that will stay in effect until the criminal charge is resolved before the courts.

I won’t lie. This makes me tingle in my special spot.

One of the most difficult things our family had to go through was knowing that the man who hit and killed Mamma K and injured The Dude was quite literally licensed to drive the DAY AFTER the wreck. He got drunk and stoned, drove, killed a woman and injured a 16-year-old boy and not 24 hours later, was back living his life as if nothing happened; no consequences what so ever. Driving, working, and living while our world was shattered. It took 20 months for this man to be found guilty and sentenced for his crime and in all that time, he was licensed to kill again.

For families affected by impaired drivers in Alberta that will no longer be the case. Hallelujah.

Now that’s not the ONLY thing Alberta is doing either. There’s more good stuff. I know…it’s like CHRISTMAS!!!

A person found to be driving impaired will also have their vehicle seized for 3 days and IF convicted, the driver will be required to install and pay for an ignition interlock device (a device where they must blow and pass before they are able to start the car) for at least one year.

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It gives me goosies!

Except I am not sure why, if found guilty, the vehicle isn’t seized permanently given it was used in the commission of a crime. I mean seriously – think about it. My guess is that a person would only have to lose their vehicle once to really get the message that impaired driving won’t be tolerated. But hey…at least Alberta is moving in the right direction and enforcing an ignition interlock device is a great step in keeping impaired drivers off the road.

Alberta is putting in a variety of appeal levels in place:

  • Drivers will be able to request a second breathalyzer test by a different machine at the roadside.
  • Drivers charged whose licenses are suspended pending the court decision can appeal through the Alberta Transportation Safety Board.

The province’s new rules also target those caught with a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08. As of September 1, 2012, drivers caught at this level will have their license suspended and vehicle seized for 3 days. Graduated drivers (new drivers) will receive a 30-day suspension and a 7-day seizure.

The province expects that the new rules will stand up against any constitutional challenges. That made me give a little first pump. Hoorah!

I hope all Canadian provinces are taking note of Alberta’s commitment to implementing much tougher impaired driving laws that only work to make our roads safer.

What do you think? Do these new laws push the boundaries of “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law”? If so, do you think it’s warranted? Do you believe they will make the Alberta roads safer? How far should our countries/provinces/states go to make our roads safe from impaired drivers? I’d love to hear your thoughts….

On August 1, 2009, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

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