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Thursday, 28 June 2012 09:14

Think twice before you drink and drive

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Drivers in Alberta are going to have no choice come July 1, but to take responsibility for their actions if they choose to drink and drive.

Passed into legislation last year, the Alberta government has taken the hard line approach with individuals who choose to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel and it’s about time.
As of July 1, drivers caught with a .05 or greater blood alcohol concentration will receive additional penalties to the 24-hour suspension they can already receive. These include a three-day licence suspension and seizure of the vehicle for three days, even if it is the first offence.
Where the new laws really get tough is on drivers who continue to display irresponsible behaviour. If caught driving a second time at a level of .05 or greater, drivers will receive a 15-day suspension and have vehicles seized for seven days. They will have to take a remedial course as well. A third offence involves a 30-day suspension, seven-day vehicle seizure, a mandatory review by the Alberta Transportation Safety Board and a remedial course.Those are the punishments for .05. When it comes to driving at .08 or greater, the penalties get even more tough.
Along with the criminal charges which remain in place, these drivers will have their licences suspended immediately until their charges are resolved. A first conviction means drivers will have to install an interlock device in their vehicles for one year, up from six months. An interlock device is what the driver will have to blow into in order to start the vehicle. A second conviction requires an interlock device in the vehicle for three years, while a third conviction means five years with an interlock.
Some people have come out and said these new penalties are harsh. They need to be. Others would disagree and say they still don’t go far enough.
Driving under the influence is a serious offence and it’s a problem that isn’t going away. People have a few drinks, think they feel fine and decide to drive. They make it home safe so the next time they go out, they do the same routine, but maybe a few more drinks. They think they are fine, get behind the wheel, but maybe the outcome is different. Maybe `that’s the time, a person kills someone else. In 2010, 96 people were killed in alcohol-related collisions in Alberta. Add to that, 1,384 people were injured.
The only way to ensure drivers will think twice before getting behind the wheel under the influence is to have harsh penalties. There has to be serious consequences in place for people’s actions and people have to start taking responsibility for their actions. Will choosing to drink pop or water at dinner in a restaurant or out with friends at a pub to watch the game kill? No, but getting behind the wheel after imbibing in one too many can.
Drunk drivers, you have been warned.

Read 1608 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 June 2012 09:16
Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor