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Alberta

Harsher penalties and quicker enforcement for Impaired drivers in Alberta

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5 minute read

From the Province of Alberta

Tough, swift penalties for impaired drivers

The Provincial Administrative Penalties Act empowers police to get impaired drivers off the streets immediately.

Starting Dec. 1, police will be able to administer stricter impaired driving penalties on the road, while most first-time impaired driving charges will be handled quicker outside of court through SafeRoads Alberta. Impaired drivers could face larger fines and lose their vehicles for up to 30 days.

SafeRoads Alberta, a new adjudication branch, will allow drivers to pay their fees online, request more time to pay their penalty, or dispute their Immediate Roadside Sanction or vehicle seizure.

In the most serious cases, including repeat offenders and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death, individuals will still receive criminal charges on top of the other penalties.

Quick facts

  • Under the new impaired driving laws, significant penalties will be handed out roadside, getting impaired drivers off the streets immediately. Stronger penalties for impaired driving include:
    • Fines of up to $2,000
    • Vehicle seizure up to 30 days
    • New mandatory education programs for repeat offenders
    • Mandatory ignition interlock for repeat offenders
  • New zero-tolerance consequences for novice drivers and commercial drivers will also be introduced.
  • The Alberta Transportation Safety Board will finish hearing cases submitted before Dec. 1 and is expected to wrap up operations by March 31, 2021

Response from MADD to New Alberta approach to penalties for impaired drivers

Alberta’s New Sanctions Will Reduce Impaired Driving and Save Lives

New sanctions and penalties going into effect in Alberta on December 1 will reduce impaired driving, save lives and make roads safer, says MADD Canada.

Alberta’s Provincial Administrative Penalties Act introduced several new measures to combat impaired driving. They include: additional fines for drivers in the warn range (.05% and .08% BAC) and for new drivers who violate the zero alcohol and drug requirement; a new zero alcohol and drug requirement for commercial drivers; and a new Immediate Roadside Sanction (IRS) program for certain impaired drivers over the legal limit of .08% BAC.

“When we look at ways to deter impaired driving, make roads safer and save lives, provincial administrative sanctions such as these are among the most effective,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. “We are pleased to see these changes coming into effect and thank the Government of Alberta for its leadership.”

The new IRS program is similar to programs in British Columbia and Manitoba, which provide an administrative option for sanctioning certain impaired drivers over the .08% BAC limit. In Alberta, those penalties include: a 15-month licence suspension, a 30-day vehicle impoundment, increased fines, ignition interlock requirements and remedial education requirements.

“This kind of administrative sanction option for certain impaired driving offenders provides a way to get them off the roads quickly while ensuring they still face strong consequences for their actions,” said Mr. Murie. “Most importantly, these programs save lives. Similar measures introduced in British Columbia have helped reduce alcohol-related crash deaths by 50%. That is hundreds of lives saved.”

It is important to note that the IRS program is not an option for all impaired drivers. It does not apply to repeat offenders or to impaired drivers who cause bodily harm or death; those offenders will continue to face Criminal Codecharges.

IRS programs also ease the burden on court and police resources, Mr. Murie noted, which ultimately helps the Criminal Code impaired driving charges that are laid proceed through the courts in a more timely fashion.

MADD Canada supports all provinces having immediate roadside sanction programs. It is a key recommendation in MADD Canada’s latest impaired driving policy recommendations: The Top 10 Report: Provincial/Territorial Recommendations to Minimize Impaired Driving and Support Victims.

 

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Alberta

Loss of Keystone XL pipeline expected to hurt future oilpatch growth: experts

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CALGARY — An industry analyst says Western Canada’s oil producers will likely cope better in the short term with Joe Biden’s cancelling of the Keystone XL presidential permit this week than they did with the same move by ex-president Barack Obama in 2015.

But Phil Skolnick, a New York-based analyst for Eight Capital, agrees with other observers that the end of the pipeline will stifle new investment and production growth in the Canadian oilpatch for years to come.

Shortly after being inaugurated on Wednesday, U.S. President Biden, who was Obama’s vice-president, fulfilled a campaign promise and took away the pipeline permit that former president Donald Trump returned to builder TC Energy Corp. in 2019.

Skolnick says the difference between now and 2015 is that producers are looking forward to opening two other export pipelines — Line 3 and Trans Mountain — that together provide nearly one million barrels a day of export capacity.

Richard Masson, an executive fellow and energy expert at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, agrees the two remaining pipelines will provide enough capacity to allow oil production to grow into the second half of this decade.

But he says uncertainty about capacity beyond that point makes it impossible for producers to make decisions about new multibillion-dollar oilsands projects, which could take five years or more to plan and build.

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association CEO Chris Bloomer, meanwhile, says excess space in the oil transport system is vital going forward to provide optionality, energy security and stable pricing for producers.

Earlier Thursday, TC Energy Corp. said it planned to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. 

The company had previously warned that blocking the project would lead to thousands of job losses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Calgary man appeals conviction for drunk-driving crash that killed his daughter

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CALGARY — A Calgary man who killed his daughter and seriously injured her best friend in a drunk-driving crash is appealing his conviction and sentence.

Michael Shaun Bomford was found guilty last January of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, as well as causing the 2016 crash while impaired.

He was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.

Bomford has filed an appeal that claims the sentence was excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances.

He also suggests the trial judge erred by ruling hearsay text messages admissible at trial.

Bomford is serving his sentence at the Drumheller Institution in Alberta.

Court heard Bomford had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he took his 17-year-old daughter, Meghan, and her friend, Kelsey Nelson, to get police checks so that they could become junior ringette coaches. 

His daughter did not survive the crash, while Nelson suffered a severe brain injury and has no recollection of it.

Bomford’s trial heard that he lost control of his Jeep while driving 112 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. The Jeep rolled into the median and all three occupants were thrown out of the vehicle. (CTV Calgary)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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january, 2021

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