Gateway Gazette

August – Impaired Driving Month

Alberta currently has the highest rate of Impaired Driving in all of Canada and the RCMP in conjunction with Alberta Transportation is committed to curbing this trend. Our province’s new impaired driving law will help to reduce the number of drinking drivers on our roads – and that means fewer deaths and serious injuries. Drivers who are criminally impaired or refuse to provide a breath sample will receive the harshest penalties. And, these drivers will still be charged with a criminal offence. Tougher consequences at the .05 to .08 level are designed to discourage drinking and driving – before drivers reach the criminally impaired level. Our goal is to create safer roads by ensuring that Albertans take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.

  • Alberta is focusing on those who receive Criminal Code offences, repeat offenders and new drivers.
  • Education and enforcement are both key to Alberta’s approach.
  • This made-in-Alberta approach focuses on changing behaviours through mandatory courses and ignition interlock use.
  • Alberta does not believe that fines are the solution. These changes do not include fines or demerit points.
  • This legislation does not prevent responsible Albertans from having a drink with dinner or friends.
  • Our focus is safer roads.

Facts and Stats

Who

  • As the severity of the collision increases, so does the likelihood that the collision involved a drinking driver.
  • On average in Alberta, one in five drivers involved in fatal collisions had been drinking prior to the collision.
  • According to statistics, males between 18 and 21 years of age are most likely to have been drinking before a collision.

When

  • The highest number of casualty collisions involving alcohol occur from May to October.
  • Most casualty collisions involving alcohol occur on the weekends.
  • The most likely time for these collisions is between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.
  • Drinking and driving collisions are often associated with long weekends.

Suspensions and Convictions

Over the last five years, there have been 43,111 criminal convictions for impaired driving in Alberta.

Deaths and Injuries

Drinking and driving imposes enormous costs on our society. The true cost of drinking and driving is the victims:

  • From 2008 to 2012, 471 people were killed and 7,397 people were injured in alcohol-related collisions.
  • In 2012 alone, 78 people were killed and 1,268 were injured.

New drivers are not immune to the hard ans steady stance Alberta is implementing in regards to drinking and driving.

Alberta has introduced the “AZAT”, Alberta Zero Alcohol Tolerance, for GDL drivers.

What is AZAT?

The Alberta Zero Alcohol Tolerance Program (AZAT) is a tough drinking and driving law for new drivers, regardless of age, licensed under the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program. Drivers with Learner (Class 7) or Probationary (Class 5) licences must have a zero blood alcohol level when driving or they will automatically receive a one-month licence suspension.

What happens if I am caught driving after having consumed any alcohol?

Peace officers are given authority under the Traffic Safety Act (TSA) to request a breath sample from any Learner or Probationary driver who they stop and suspect has consumed alcohol. If your breath sample indicates the presence of alcohol or you refuse to provide a breath sample, then the peace officer will request the immediate surrender of your driver’s licence and serve Notice of Suspension/Disqualification, which stays effective until the outcome of all proceedings and a review by Alberta Transportation. Along with the suspension is a 7 day vehicle seizure.

(RCMP)

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