Changes coming to impaired driving laws
The Government of Alberta will look at implementing changes to impaired driving legislation to save lives and reduce injuries.
Recently, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that part of Alberta’s current impaired driving sanctions are unconstitutional. Specifically, the ruling stated that suspending licences until a matter is resolved in court infringes on an individual’s Charter rights.
The Government of Alberta is not appealing the court’s decision in R. v Sahaluk and will be exploring other legislative models and strategies across Canada.
“The safety of Albertans in communities and on our roads is our top priority. Deaths caused by impaired driving are senseless, tragic and 100 percent preventable. We will be looking at other legislative models across the country to see which initiatives have been most effective in saving lives. We want to ensure that our laws reduce impaired driving and are also upheld in court.”
“Impaired driving is a crime that claims nearly twice as many lives each year in Canada as all forms of homicide combined. We are pleased to see the Government of Alberta moving forward to explore a more effective model to deter and reduce impaired driving in that province. We look forward to working with them to ensure this happens.”
“We support the action of the government on this matter. Impaired drivers threaten the safety of every other person on the road with potential death or serious injury, and administrative licence suspensions were an immediate way to address the threat. We are optimistic that the government will find a legally acceptable resolution to this issue in the very near future.”
The court is allowing the current sanctions to remain in place until May 2018, which means police officers are still able to suspend licences in impaired driving situations.
The Government of Alberta plans to have ongoing conversations with key stakeholders before bringing any new impaired driving legislation forward.
Impaired driving fatalities in Alberta:
- In 2012, the Government of Alberta amended the Traffic Safety Act so that drivers with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 or those who refuse to provide a breath sample would have their driver’s licence suspended until the criminal charge is resolved.
- In 2011, there were 78 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities.
- In 2012, there were 78 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities.
- In 2013, there were 80 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities.
- In 2014, there were 68 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities.
- In 2015, there were 85 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities.
Source: Alberta Transportation, Office of Traffic Safety