New impaired driving laws coming into effect
When the Alberta Court of Appeal struck down part of the province’s Impaired Driving law specifically allowing for the immediate and indefinite suspension of drivers licences charged with impaired driving (until resolved in court), it also set a deadline for the Province to implement new rules by May 2018.
The court decision dealt with part of the current legislation that ties an indefinite suspension to the disposition of the charge, whether the individual pleads guilty and moves on to the next stage of sentencing, or is found not guilty in court, which can take from two months to almost a year in some cases.
Bill 29 was passed Nov. 29 by the province, and in keeping with the federal government’s move to legalize the use and possession of non-medicinal cannabis, includes provision for impairment due to both alcohol, THC (found in cannabis), or any drug, or combination of alcohol and drugs.
“Impaired driving due to alcohol, cannabis, or any other impairing drug or combination of drugs, is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada.
“These tragedies are entirely avoidable. Alberta’s impaired driving laws aim to reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads, encourage safe driving behaviour, and strongly discourage impaired driving,” says Brian Mason, Alberta’s Transportation Minister.
Killam RCMP Corporal Trent Cleveland, Acting Detachment Commander, says that the proposed new laws are similar to those in B.C., where the crown presses criminal charges, and police impose road-side suspensions and vehicle impound sanctions.
And Viking RCMP Corporal Brad Mouland said the exact time the new laws and legislation will take effect is unknown at this time.
“We don’t know,” he said. “The new rules haven’t been rolled out for us to enforce or to train anyone.
“We’re monitoring the changes at the same time as the general public is and we should get some direction from our agency pretty soon,” said Mouland.
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