Big changes to impaired driving laws in Newfoundland could be coming, and if they do, they will come thanks to the hard work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada.
MADD representatives met with Newfoundland Liberal MHAs to recommend changes to Newfoundland’s impaired driving laws, and there are three changes they’d like to see to reduce alcohol-related deaths and crashes in the province.
Drive in the warn range = lose your car
In some provinces you don’t have to blow over .08 to receive an impaired driving charge. British Columbia and Ontario are a few of the provinces that have warn range violations in place, and that means if you’re stopped for impaired driving and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 to .08, you’ll lose your driver’s license for a period of 24 hours. In British Columbia, you’ll also lose your vehicle for 3 days if you’re a first offender who blows in the warn range.
MADD would like to see that type of vehicle impoundment added to impaired driving laws in Newfoundland. They think it could help fight impaired driving because losing a vehicle for 3 days is a serious inconvenience.
Zero tolerance for underage drinking and drugs
Thanks to Canadian Graduated Licensing Programs, most provinces already have zero tolerance for underage drinking. Take Ontario for example: anyone under the age of 22 who is stopped with any amount of alcohol in their system can be charged with impaired driving and will receive penalties decided upon by the province.
MADD would like to see zero tolerance come to Newfoundland, with the restriction lifted when the person is legal drinking age.
Mandatory ignition interlocks for all offenders
As of right now, if you’re convicted of impaired driving in Newfoundland and you’re a first time offender, you have the opportunity to install an ignition interlock for 9 months instead of losing your driver’s license. It’s not mandatory for first time offenders to install the device, but MADD would like to see it become that way. Other provinces require ignition interlocks for all offenders and they’ve seen a drop in alcohol-related crashes.
The committee has met to recommend the changes, and now it’s time to take their proposals to government officials. For the sake of Newfoundland drivers, let’s hope they take the recommendations.