The province that’s always been in the headlines for having the worst drunk driving record in the entire country is now making headlines for a different reason: Saskatchewan impaired driving laws have changed to crack down on drunk drivers in the province, and they’ve adopted a law that penalizes drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) as low as .04.
The .04 BAC penalty has surprised a lot of people, but just because the legal limit is .08 doesn’t mean you should drive with that much alcohol in your system. That’s reason why experts have helped Saskatchewan lawmakers adopt the .04 BAC penalty.
According to Saskatoon’s CTV news, when you drink alcohol it travels to your stomach and from there is released into your blood. That’s when it travels to your brain, and at that point the effects happen at a fast and furious pace. Even one drink can slow your reflexes, and your reaction time and judgement are impaired.
Backing that up, Marcella Ogenchuk, an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s college of nursing has said that, according to some research, you’re twice as likely to be in a crash with a .04 BAC than if you weren’t drinking alcohol at all.
It does take some people longer to feel the effects of alcohol because everyone reacts differently to it, but SGI (Saskatchewan General Insurance) believes that .04 is a good place to start the penalty process for Saskatchewan impaired driving offenders too. They’ve shared data that shows only one or two alcohol drinks would be enough to bring some people to the .05 level, and that’s when you’ll feel a relaxation of your inhibition, mental clarity, and reaction time.
Put all of this together and you have a recipe for disaster when it comes to driving, so Saskatchewan impaired driving law now requires anyone stopped with a .04 BAC to be penalized by having their vehicle seized for three days. You can’t be charged criminally until you’ve reached .08, but if the research is true, you could easily end up crashing before you even reach that level.
Saskatchewan’s goal is to decrease the number of drunk drivers on the roads and stop the constant flow of tragic crashes in the province. .04 might just be the magic number to do that.