Driving law targets the handicapped

There are many people talking about the 0.05 drunk driving changes to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act. But perhaps a bigger picture is being missed.

There are many people talking about the 0.05 drunk driving changes to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act. But perhaps a bigger picture is being missed.

The PC government has subtly changed the officer’s discretion portion of the 24-hour roadside suspension (Section 89 of the act).

Previously, you could have your licence suspended for a day if the officer suspects a driver’s impairment as a result of alcohol, drug, or ‘any other substance.’ This didn’t change.

However, added to it was if an officer suspects that a ‘medical or physical condition that affects the driver’s physical or mental ability,’ they can also take away their licence — new paragraph 89(1)(a) of the amended Traffic Safety Act.

So, what defines a medical or physical condition? Sadly, this is open to an officer’s interpretation, who, although well trained for their policing job, is not a medical professional.

My brother-in-law lost his right leg in an industrial accident. He now wears a prosthetic limb, and drives a normal vehicle, using his left foot for the gas and brake. Would this be considered a ‘physical condition that affects the driver’s physical ability’?

I would submit to you, yes, by definition only.

Since losing his leg, my brother-in-law has constantly driven his vehicle with no problems whatsoever. However, this new legislation now gives the police power to take his licence away on a roadside suspension.

This begs the question, why would the PC government introduce legislation taking rights away from the mentally and physically handicapped?

I’ve made my choice. I have given up supporting the PC government, and have made the switch to the Wildrose Party, who realizes these changes are horrible for our society.

Cory G. Litzenberger

Red Deer

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