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New impaired driving legislation tabled in Alberta
EDMONTON -- The province is looking at implementing a new system that would streamline impaired driving penalties.
The Provincial Administrative Penalties Act was tabled on Thursday. The province said Bill 21 will create stronger and more immediate penalties for drivers under the influence.
“This policy saves lives. Full stop,” said Minister of Justice Doug Schweitzer.
Under the bill, a new program would be created called Immediate Roadside Sanctions, or IRS. The aim is to cut back on administrative work for officers and provide relief for the court system.
“Officers who could be spending time patrolling streets and neighbourhoods are spending thousands of hours sitting behind a desk doing what administrative paperwork is involved,” said Schweitzer.
Under the new framework, first time offenders who aren’t involved in offences involving bodily harm or death would be unlikely to see criminal charges.
“We’ll pursue criminal charges against repeat offenders. If you injure someone, or someone dies through an impaired driving, you will face criminal charges,” Schweitzer said.
The province based the framework on a system that has been in place for over a decade in B.C. The program includes a new online tool designed to resolve disputes for most non-criminal traffic offences.
“It’ll allow us to deal with these matters outside of the courtroom.”
While fewer criminal charges might be laid, penalties for those who are charged would be stiffer.
Consequences would include:
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Vehicle seizures for up to 30 days
- New mandatory education programs for repeat offenders
- Mandatory ignition interlocks for repeat offenders
“We as the ACP leadership commend the government, look forward to working with the government on the details of this going forward,” said Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee.
If the legislation is passed, it would be introduced in late 2020.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jay Rosove