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Member Notices

April 11, 2012

Attention: Mayors, Councillors & CAOs

The new impaired driving legislation: What does it mean for municipalities?

The Government of Alberta is moving ahead to implement new impaired driving legislation this summer aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by drinking drivers.

In general, this legislation does not significantly impact municipalities.

The new legislation includes additional restrictions on new drivers and stronger penalties for drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 or greater. The strongest penalties are targeted at repeat offenders and drivers who are criminally impaired (i.e., have a BAC greater than .08). These penalties are explained in the attached backgrounder provided by the Government of Alberta. Key points of interest:

  • Regulations are currently being developed to support this new legislation
  • Law enforcement systems are being updated to better track repeat offenders
  • Preparations are underway for a public education and awareness campaign to help Albertans prepare for the new law
  • By mid-June, frontline police officers will have been orientated on the new legislation
  • The stronger penalties for new drivers and drivers with a BAC greater than .08 are expected to be in place by the July long weekend, with the other penalties taking effect by the end of summer.

There is no requirement for municipalities to provide more check stops, enforcement and/or public transportation. However, the lower limits may create more situations where individuals are over the limit, even if enforcement levels are left the same.

This could put added cost on municipal services to process and defend the additional incidents. If a municipality wishes to enhance check stops, enforcement and public transportation, it is still their own decision.

Over the past five years, alcohol-related collisions resulted in 569 fatalities and over 8,500 injuries. Approximately 22 per cent of drivers involved in fatal collisions had consumed alcohol.

Thank you

Sue Bohaichuk
Executive Officer, Advocacy
Zohreh Saher
Research Analyst

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