EDMONTON – Alberta is cracking down on impaired drivers with legislation that calls for more mandatory vehicle seizures and licence suspensions.
Under the proposal, a person caught driving over the legal limit of 0.08 for the first time would lose their vehicle for three days, and lose their licence until the criminal charge is resolved.
They would then have to install an alcohol screening device for one year at their own cost that prevents a vehicle from starting.
Drivers caught repeatedly with blood alcohol levels just under the legal limit would lose their vehicle for up to seven days and their licence for up to 30 days.
These drivers would not be charged under the Criminal Code.
Alberta Transportation says 96 people died and 1,384 were injured in the province last year because of impaired driving.
The proposed crackdown is being praised by anti-drunk driving groups but people in the hospitality industry are concerned it will discourage customers from ordering a drink at restaurants, bars or hotels.
Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says the plan to impound the vehicles of suspected impaired drivers for 72 hours will get results.
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He says similar legislation in B.C. that targets drivers with alcohol levels just below the legal limit has resulted in a big drop in impaired driving deaths.
Mark Von Schellwitz of the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association says its 4,000 members in Alberta will lose business.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says Alberta should consult with restaurant and pub owners before passing the legislation.
If the Alberta government implements stricter impaired driving laws, will you have second thoughts about having even one alcoholic drink before driving?