Tuesday Tip: Do you understand Alberta’s impaired driving legislation?

December 10th, 2014

In 2010, 22% of Alberta’s driving fatalities involved alcohol as a factor. This resulted in 96 deaths and 1,384 injuries from alcohol related vehicle collisions. The Alberta Government passed Bill 26 in December 2011, which amended the Alberta Traffic Safety Act. The new changes address impaired driving and impose new sanctions for drivers.

What does this mean to you and your company?

In Alberta, drivers with blood alcohol levels between 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood (0.05) and 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood (0.08) will now receive the following:

1st offence – 3 day license suspension & 3 day vehicle seizure
2nd offence – 15 day license suspension, 7 day vehicle seizure & attend “Planning Ahead” course
3rd offence – 30 day license suspension, 7 day vehicle seizure & attend “Impact” course

There’s zero tolerance for blood alcohol content for drivers in the graduated driver licensing program. The penalties are a 30 day licence suspension and 7 day vehicle seizure. Drivers with a blood alcohol level over 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.08), or drivers who refuse to provide a breath sample will be charged under the Criminal Code. The penalty is an immediate licence suspension which will remain in effect until the criminal charge is resolved in court. As well, a 3 day or 7 day vehicle seizure will be applied to the 1st and repeat offences respectively. Convicted drivers will also have a requirement of a mandatory ignition interlock device for 1, 3, and 5 years on their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd offence respectively.

As a business, this will have an impact on some industries where driving may be required as a part of the job. Before, drivers with 24 hour licence suspensions would pick up their licence the next day and not tell anyone. New extended suspensions may mean a driver does not tell their employer and they continue to drive with a suspended licence. Companies that supply vehicles to employees may have to deal with an employee driving the company vehicle and losing the use of it for the impound duration; and, possibly at the company expense of paying the impound charges, or worse, the driver gets into an accident without a valid licence.

These issues need to be addressed in company policy and would include policy such as:

• Annual Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) checks on staff who drive for the company (whether it is their own vehicle or a company vehicle);
• Develop written policies regarding drugs, alcohol, and policies regarding driving such as employees are responsible for fines for vehicles in their care custody and control;
• All company policies should be signed and acknowledged by the employee, witnessed by management and filed with the employee files.

Always plan ahead to get home safely; use transit, call a taxi or a friend.

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