If you looked at a map of impaired driving records of Canadians from coast to coast, you’d see that a lot of these drivers live in the central provinces. Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba all have serious impaired driving issues, and because of that, Saskatchewan and Alberta both changed their impaired driving laws to add ignition interlocks for all offenders.
Like the Saskatchewan ignition interlock program, the Alberta ignition interlock program is mandatory for anyone with a criminal charge of impaired driving over .08. It’s also mandatory for anyone convicted because they are impaired by drugs or who refuses to submit to a police officer’s request for a breath, blood, or urine sample.
Once you’re arrested for impaired driving in Alberta you’ll receive an immediate driver’s license suspension that’s only lifted once your criminal charge is resolved. At that time your driver’s license suspension will be decided, and you’ll receive a Notice of Suspension with your ignition interlock participation term on it.
First offenders will have to participate in the Alberta ignition interlock program for one year, while second time offenders will be required to participate for three years. A third time offender will be required to use an ignition interlock for five years.
When you drive with an Alberta ignition interlock, you’ll be constantly monitored. If you drink and try to drive you’ll be required to meet with the Ignition Interlock Program Review Committee. And if you think you can get away with a bypass attempt, think again: if you attempt to cheat your ignition interlock or if you receive another impaired driving charge, you may be removed from the program and you may have your driver’s license suspended again. You may also have to attend a driver’s program.
According to Alberta Transportation, since the ignition interlock program and tougher impaired driving laws were implemented in July of 2012, the province saw a drop in the number of drunk driving crashes. Let’s hope that Alberta stays the course and continues this positive trend.