New impaired driving legislation passes

By Staff

Edmonton – Bill 26, the Traffic Safety Amendment Act, 2011 passed Dec. 26, opening the door to increased penalties for those drink and drive. The comprehensive impaired driving legislation aims to keep drivers who drink from getting behind the wheel by changing behaviours through enforcement balanced with education, prevention and monitoring, according to the province.

“Impaired driving is preventable and Alberta will pursue coordinated actions that are proven to change behaviours when taken together,” said Minister of Transportation Ray Danyluk in a press release Tuesday night. “This legislation has sparked some important conversations around the province. I encourage everyone to keep talking – keep talking to your spouses, to your sons and daughters, to your parents, to your friends, to your colleagues and to those important to you.”

The province is planning to work with others in the coming months to run a public education and awareness campaign to help Albertans prepare for the new law which takes an integrated approach that builds on existing sanctions and education programs. The law reserves the strongest sanctions for repeat offenders and those who are criminally impaired with blood-alcohol content (BAC) over .08. It also expands existing sanctions for drivers impaired with BAC from .05 up to .08. Repeat offenders will face progressively harsher penalties with each offence. Accompanying changes will also be made to regulatory sanctions for new drivers who are found with any BAC in their system.

“This new legislation is one important step toward making Alberta’s roads safer,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Verlyn Olson in the same release. “It’s now up to all Albertans to take the next steps forward by making smart choices when it comes to drinking and driving and encouraging others to do the same.”

The government says the new legislation focuses on creating stronger, safer communities and roads. An estimated 22 per cent of drivers in fatal collisions in Alberta last year had consumed some alcohol. Alcohol-related collisions resulted in 569 fatalities and 8,535 injuries over the last five years in Alberta.

Information about the new law is available on the Alberta Transportation website at: The Traffic Safety Amendment Act, 2011 is available on the Alberta Queen’s Printer website:

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