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Alberta's approach to impaired driving

Sanctions

Implemented April 9, 2018

For drivers with blood alcohol of .08 or over, who are impaired by alcohol, drugs or their combination, or who fail or refuse to provide a breath or blood sample

Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension:

As of April 9, 2018, the Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension is two-staged, fixed-term driving suspension consisting of two distinct parts:

  • a 90-day driving suspension where the suspended driver is unable to drive under any circumstances, AND
  • a further one-year driving suspension where the suspended driver may be eligible to drive on a condition that they participate in Alberta’s Ignition Interlock Program. If they choose not to participate, they will remain suspended during this one-year term with no ability to drive to legally.

Escalating Vehicle Seizures:

·       1st Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension: 3-day vehicle seizure

·       2nd and subsequent Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension: 7- day vehicle seizure

Penalties Under the Criminal Code (Canada):

  • 1st Criminal Code (Canada) Conviction: Driver’s Licence Suspension, completion of the “Planning Ahead” Course, and 1 year of Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program Participation.
  • 2nd Criminal Code (Canada) Conviction: Driver’s Licence Suspension, completion of the “IMPACT” Program, and 3 years of Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program Participation.
  • 3rd or Subsequent Criminal Code (Canada) Conviction: Driver’s Licence Suspension, completion of the “IMPACT” Program, and 5 years of Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program Participation.

A preceding Criminal Code (Canada) conviction for impaired driving, and participation in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program will supersede a new Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension.

If a driver is serving both a provincial Ignition Interlock Program term and one imposed by the Courts, Ignition Interlock Program participation may run concurrently.

If the client wishes to participate in the Alberta Administrative Licence Ignition Interlock Program during the 2nd phase of the driving suspension (of the 1 year term), the client is required to purchase and submit an Ignition Interlock Program Application to Driver Fitness and Monitoring.

If the same client wishes to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program as a result of the criminal conviction, the same client would then be required to purchase and submit another Ignition Interlock Program Application to Driver Fitness and Monitoring, along with a legible copy of the “Order of Driving Prohibition Against an Offender” from the Courts (once they have 30 days or less remaining in the federal driving prohibition term.

Implemented April 9,2018

For new (GDL drivers with cannabis or illegal drugs over .00

Any driver with the Graduated Driver Licence (GDL) Program found with any level of blood drug concentration over .00 will be subject to the same sanctions they currently are for alcohol - Immediate 30-day Driver’s Licence Suspension and 7-day vehicle seizure.

It should be noted that GDL drivers who meet the requirements for criminal level impaired driving will be subject to any and all provincial sanctions and criminal penalties that apply.

Implemented September 1, 2012

For drivers with blood alcohol .05 to .08:

  • 1st offence - Immediate 3-day Driver’s Licence Suspension and 3-day vehicle seizure.
  • 2nd offence - Immediate 15-day Driver’s Licence Suspension, 7-day vehicle seizure, and completion of the “Planning Ahead” Course.
  • 3rd offence - Immediate 30-day Driver’s Licence Suspension, 7-day vehicle seizure, and completion of the “IMPACT” Program.

Implemented July 1, 2012
For new (GDL) drivers with blood alcohol over .00

  • Any driver with the Graduated Driver Licence (GDL) Program found with any level of blood alcohol concentration - Immediate 30-day Driver’s Licence Suspension and 7-day vehicle seizure.

Information on both the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program and the Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Ignition Interlock Program can be found here.

More information on April 2018 Traffic Safety Act changes

In April 2017, the Government of Canada introduced legislation that will:

  • legalize the use and possession of non-medicinal cannabis in Canada (Bill C-45),
  • make changes to federal impaired driving laws (Bill C-46) in the Criminal Code (Canada).

These federal changes propose three new impaired driving offences specific to cannabis, cannabis/alcohol combination and other drugs.

In addition, in May of 2017, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that   Section 88.1 of Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act was unconstitutional. This section imposes an indefinite licence suspension for driving with a blood alcohol concentration over .08 per cent—a federal criminal offence—pending the outcome of criminal court proceedings. The Traffic Safety Act was amended under Bill 29 to address this ruling and to reflect the new impaired driving offences when they come into force in Ottawa.

Alberta’s Administrative Licence Suspension Program

As of April 9, 2018, the immediate licence suspension for drivers:

  • with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or over,
  • who are impaired by alcohol or a drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs
  • who fail or refuse  to comply with a demand for a breath or blood sample,

which remained in place until the criminal charge was resolved, has changed to a two-stage, fixed-term driving suspension consisting of two distinct parts:

  • a 90-day driving suspension where the driver is unable to drive under any circumstances, AND
  • a further one year driving suspension where the driver may be eligible to drive on a condition that they participate in Alberta’s Ignition Interlock Program. If they choose not to participate, they will remain suspended during this one-year term with no ability to drive to legally.

These provincial sanctions are in addition to criminal charges and any and all penalties imposed by the court.

The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program will be expanded to include drivers with a blood drug concentration or blood alcohol/drug concentration over the proposed new federal limits when they come into force in Ottawa.

References to the Criminal Code (Canada) in Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act

  • References in the Traffic Safety Act will be adjusted to reflect the re-numbering and reorganization of all transportation-related offences in the Criminal Code (Canada) under Bill C-46.

Alberta Zero Tolerance Program

  • As of April 9, 2018, Alberta’s Zero Tolerance Program for Graduated Driver Licence (GDL) drivers—which to date included zero tolerance for alcohol in the bloodstream—will be extended to include cannabis, cannabis/alcohol combination, and illegal drugs.

Alberta has seen encouraging decreases in the number of impaired drivers involved in casualty collisions and will continue to work to further reduce these numbers. Our province’s impaired driving laws aim to reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads – and that means fewer deaths and serious injuries. Our goal is to create safer roads by ensuring Albertans take personal responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.