How tough is too tough when it comes to impaired driving in Alberta? If you ask Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), they’ll tell you that being tough doesn’t work.
MADD weighed in after the Alberta Court of Appeal took the step of striking down a section of Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act. The section allowed the immediate and mandatory license suspension for anyone who is charged with impaired driving in Alberta, and it’s a law that’s similar, but not quite the same, as what British Columbia utilizes for their own Immediate Roadside Suspension.
Instead of being concerned that the Alberta Court of Appeal was taking away an important part of the Traffic Safety Act, MADD has stated that they feel the law may have been the government’s way of trying to be too tough on impaired driving. Because it’s more of a punishment than other penalties, MADD wasn’t surprised it was thrown out, and instead, they want the government to focus on deterrents and rehabilitation for people charged with impaired driving in Alberta.
What are those deterrents? MADD would much rather Alberta follow in the footsteps of British Columbia by focusing on three things:
Immediate vehicle impounds
Arrested for impaired driving in British Columbia? You could immediately lose your vehicle for a period of time.
Ignition interlocks for all offenders
Once you’re convicted of drunk driving you’ll have to install an ignition interlock in any vehicle you drive, and that includes every offender.
Mandatory rehabilitation programs
British Columbia requires their offenders to attend the Responsible Driver Program, and since they’ve changed their impaired driving laws, they’ve taken away any hardship waivers or exemptions for drivers who want to avoid this penalty.
Although people may have worried that this part of the Traffic Safety Act needed to be in place in Alberta, MADD has put the situation in the right perspective. Deterrents work in British Columbia, so let’s hope that Alberta looks at their example and moves on in a positive way.