The Safer Roads Act, introduced in Manitoba last June, just came into effect, just in time for the big holiday push to stop drunk drivers. Some of the changes to the Manitoba’s impaired driving laws include mandatory ignition interlock programs for all drivers convicted of impaired driving in the province, and the new law closes a loophole where drivers could avoid the ignition interlock if they fail to renew their drivers license after their drivers license suspension.
Other changes to Manitoba’s impaired driving laws due to the Safer Roads Act include longer road side suspensions for those people driving in the warn range. Anyone who is stopped with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 to .08 will lose their drivers licence for 3 days.
That’s up from the previous time of 24 hours and more in line with other provinces who also have immediate roadside suspensions of 3 days. If that person is also driving with a person under the age of 16 in the car, they will receive a 7 day penalty instead of 3 days.
These changes couldn’t come at a better time for Manitoba. In the past three months they’ve seen a big upswing in fatal alcohol-related crashes. 34 people have died in these crashes since September 1st, 2015, and that number is up by a whopping 42% from previous years. A total of 71 victims of drunk driving have died in Manitoba this past year.
The Safer Roads Act was designed to save lives. By forcing drivers to use ignition interlocks after an impaired driving conviction and cracking down on people who have one or two drinks and think they’re safe to drive, the province is taking strong steps to stop the spike in drunk drivers and drunk driving fatalities.