Stopping teen drunk drivers is one of those difficult issues that many provinces grapple with, and each province deals with it differently than others.
In Prince Edward Island lawmakers have made the decision to crack down hard on teen drunk drivers by jumping in and changing the Highway Traffic Act. P.E.I Transportation Minister Paula Biggar has proposed changes that would target young drivers but also extend to anyone who drinks and drives in the province.
Zero tolerance age dropped
Although most provinces have zero tolerance for age nineteen and younger, P.E.I. would like to raise that age to twenty two years old. That means anyone age twenty two and younger would be charged if they had any amount of alcohol in their system while driving. The change in P.E.I. zero tolerance laws would put the province on the same page as Ontario and Quebec.
If you’re a new driver on the graduated licensing program, there are also changes. If you drink and drive you’ll receive 90-day driver’s license suspension and a 30-day vehicle impoundment.
Three strikes and you’re out
Can you imagine having your vehicle taken away? It will be a reality in P.E.I. if you’re caught drunk driving three or more times. A third arrest will net you a 90-day driver’s license suspension and a mandatory 30-day vehicle impoundment. An officer can also make the call if they’d like to impound the vehicle of a first or second time drunk driving offender.
Longer ignition interlock programs
Not just applicable to teen drunk drivers, Biggar has proposed that the Highway Traffic Act change the P.E.I. ignition interlock program. Drunk drivers taking part in the program right now must have an ignition interlock for two years, but that would be extended to three years for repeat offenders.
These might seem like small changes but they can have a big impact on drunk driving in P.E.I. Let’s hope this works and the new year brings the tiny province a serious drop in drunk driving rates.