Alberta lags in drunk driving legislation

“I’m going to have several drinks, then get in my vehicle and see if I can kill someone.” Every day, there are drivers in Alberta who, if they don’t actually speak the words, say it in their actions. Almost one in four fatal crashes in Alberta involves drinking and driving.

“I’m going to have several drinks, then get in my vehicle and see if I can kill someone.”

Every day, there are drivers in Alberta who, if they don’t actually speak the words, say it in their actions. Almost one in four fatal crashes in Alberta involves drinking and driving.

If we think we can go no further with tough drunk driving laws in Alberta, think again. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers says Alberta could do better.

According to MADD Canada’s Rating the Provinces and Territories — The 2009 Report, Alberta ranks only sixth overall when it comes to legislation to reduce alcohol and drug-related crashes, fatalities and injuries.

The last time the rating was done, in 2006, Alberta ranked fourth overall.

Ontario’s impaired driving laws ranked first overall in 2009, according to the report, while Nunavut came in dead last at 13th. The MADD report was released earlier this month.

Why can’t impaired driving legislation be standardized across the country?

The MADD report says Ontario’s impaired driving reforms include: a comprehensive graduated licensing program; three-day administrative licence suspensions for drivers with blood alcohol concentrations over .05 per cent; a comprehensive vehicle impoundment program; and a mandatory alcohol interlock program for all federal impaired driving offences.

“Alberta has made little improvement, despite having some of highest impaired driving rates in the country,” the report says.

MADD Canada recommends a number of legislative measures for Alberta. Some include:

• A zero per cent blood alcohol content (BAC) for all drivers under 21 and all drivers in the first five years of licensure.

• Increase the minimum age of licensed driving on public roads to 16. Alberta’s graduated licensing program has no high-speed roadway restrictions.

• Police should be authorized to demand a test on an approved screening device from all drivers and supervisors who are subject to a zero per cent BAC restriction, even in the absence of a reasonable suspicion of alcohol consumption.

• Alberta should enact a mandatory alcohol interlock program for all federal impaired driving offenders. Presently, the program applies to people with a BAC of .16 per cent or higher; who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample; or who have more than one conviction for driving with a BAC in excess of .08 per cent in the past 10 years.

• Alberta does not have a vehicle forfeiture program, even for those who have multiple impaired driving convictions. MADD says it should have one. I agree.

We must continually look at ways to reduce impaired driving. Legislation is one of those ways.

Our legislators should have a look at MADD’s recommendations and, whenever practical, embrace them.

Mary-Ann Barr is Advocate assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@bprda.wpengine.com or by phone at 403-314-4332.

Just Posted

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

Rotary clubs host World Polio Day event

City to proclaim World Polio Day in Red Deer

RDC wins big at marketing conference

College won nine awards at the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations Conference

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

The celebratory mood that marked the legalization of recreational cannabis lost a… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Most Read