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Alberta strengthening its impaired driving laws

New laws are coming to Alberta to deter impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel.

Last fall, the Government of Alberta passed an Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol-Impaired Driving that states several new laws and lays the groundwork for future legislation on blood drug concentration limits for cannabis.

The regulations include, impaired drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or over, drivers impaired by drugs or drivers who refuse to take a breath or blood sample will have their licence suspended for 90 days, followed by participating in a mandatory ignition interlock program for one year.

Lloydminster RCMP Constable Grant Kirzinger says that there are currently provincial and federal laws in place to impose and deter impaired driving.

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“Criminally there are charges for impaired driving, as well as there’s administrative driving sanctions for those who do choose to drive impaired or under that legal limit that’s still prohibited by the provincial government.”

Some other new rules include, zero tolerance for GDL drivers to have cannabis or illegal drugs in their bloodstream, in addition to alcohol. The consequences if that law is not followed means a 30-day licence suspension, seven-day vehicle seizure and a lengthened time on the GDL program.

Between 2006 and 2015 over 1,000 people died of alcohol and drug-impaired driving and more than 15,000 people were injured. Kirzinger says that there are specific procedures that the police have to follow when they see an impaired driver.

“Make sure that rights are preserved and just the evidence that we need is collected, whether that be obtaining breath samples or conducting a DRE [Drug Recognition Expert] exam.”

The new laws will come into effect on April 9.

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