By Justin Seward
Impaired drivers will now face an array of serious consequences under Alberta’s Provincial Penalty Administrative Act’s Bill 21.
The Act is in place to ensure the roads are safer by introducing stronger and immediate impaired driving penalties, while reducing the timing of enforcing traffic and non-criminal impaired driving matters.
The intent is to get impaired drivers off the streets.
The Immediate Roadside Sanctions Program is under the Act’s umbrella and came into effect on Dec.1
Consequences under the IRS program include: driver’s license suspensions, fines up to $2,000, increasing length of vehicle seizures up to 30 days, repeat offenders have to take mandatory education programs and participation in the IIP (Ignition interlock Program).
There also be a new administrative penalty introduced for commercial drivers where there is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol for commercial drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle in a commercial capacity
“Our members are receiving training with regards to it and we will be enforcing it starting that day,” said Sean Maxwell, Redcliff RCMP’s Staff Sgt.
Bill 21’s intent is to allow for more time on the roads for police officers and doing less paperwork
“My understanding of the way the legislation is designed is to overall reduce downtime for members to do paper work and potential for court,” said Maxwell.
“I believe there are ways within the legislation so people can still have (a) due process where necessary but outside of that, is where it’s set up that hopefully this allows members to stay on the road more and perhaps take more drivers that have alcohol in their bodies and then choose to drive.”
Maxwell says the hope is people make the right choice and find a sober driver or an alternative means of transport to get them home or wherever they’re going.
“I think everybody can get on board with that,” said Maxwell.
“But giving the pandemic that’s going on and the work that is going on, we have to conduct this in a safe manner both for ourselves and the public who are out there as well. As long as it is safely done and the tests are done and conducted safely, I would anticipate the members out there doing this.”
Many first time offenders will be able to deal with these penalties through a new online traffic dispute system.
The system will be rolled in early 2021 and will allow Albertans to pay, request more time to pay or dispute a ticket and free up police and courts to focus on most serious matters.
For the most serious cases, including repeat offences and impaired driving causing harm, will receive the same roadside penalties and be prosecuted in court.