Will it be a case of too little, too late, or is it an obligation that an out-going Minister of Justice feels he needs to fulfill? Current Justice Minister Peter MacKay has introduced the Dangerous And Impaired Driving Act, but Canadians shouldn’t get their hopes up that the Act will become law in the near future.
One of the goals of the Criminal Code of Canada is put into place laws that will reduce impaired driving. As lawmakers have sought to strengthen the laws, they’ve also become more complex and difficult to prosecute, creating loopholes that impaired drivers have used to skirt serious penalties.
To simplify matters, the new bill will provide three impaired driving offenses and four transportation-related offenses. Penalties for impaired driving will increase, and jail time will become mandatory for some offenses instead of paying a simple fine.
The Dangerous And Impaired Driving Act will also close loopholes that are allowing people to get away with impaired driving. As an example, people have been slowing down prosecution because they argue that their high blood alcohol level was due to the fact that they drank after they stopped their vehicle.
Another loophole included people walking away from an impaired driving charge after blaming inaccurate breathalzyer tests for their high blood alcohol concentration (BAC). With the passing of the Dangerous And Impaired Driving Act, as long as proper procedures are followed, an offender won’t be able to argue against a breathalyzer reading.
If passed, these changes will have been a long time in coming. Justice Minister MacKay promised to get tough on impaired drivers way back in 2013, and although he’s trying, many people in Canada are predicting the changes won’t happen. It took 90,000 signatures on a petition to get MacKay to pass the act, and because the Conservative government is up for re-election, the legislation may already be dead in the water.
Election time is coming in Canada—do you think the Dangerous And Impaired Driving Act will live to become law?