The Court of Appeal decision just made on the constitutionality of Alberta impaired driving laws was big news. And after the dust settled the province has decided that it might be time to update their laws to see what would be the most effective path to take in preventing drunk drivers.
The ruling that came down stated that Alberta impaired driving laws are unconstitutional because suspending a driver’s license without allowing the offender to go to court infringes on that offender’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although the ruling is that these suspensions are unconstitutional, the legislation won’t change until May 2018. That means anyone who’s had a suspension in that time will still have that suspension on their record.
Because of that ruling, Alberta lawmakers decided that Alberta impaired driving laws will change; but how will they change? If Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have any say in the matter, they believe that Alberta should look to British Columbia for guidance on new rules.
MADD favours British Columbia’s vehicle impound and driver’s license penalties as a way to stop impaired driving. B.C. has a seven day impound for any first-time drunk driver, a 30-day impound for a second offense, and a 60-day impound for a third within two years.
B.C. also has the controversial Immediate Roadside Prohibition as part of their impaired driving laws. If you’re stopped with a BAC of not less than 0.05, you can lose your vehicle for three days. If it’s your second offense, you’ll lose your vehicle for seven days, and a third offense within five years means you’re car-less for up to 30 days.
B.C.’s impaired driving laws are a good model to follow, because the rate of drunk drivers in the province has been dropping drastically. Whether or not Alberta will try B.C.’s game plan is anyone’s guess, but there’s no downside to putting the province on a tried and true path that’s been successful for another province.