New penalties will hopefully deter drunk driving, says Sundre RCMP
Tough new impaired driving penalties coming into effect next week, penalties that include the loss of driver’s licence until cases move through the courts, will hopefully deter people from getting behind the wheel drunk, says Sundre RCMP’s detachment commander.
“It should be a good deterrent,” said Sgt. Percy Leipnitz. “The point is to deter people and hopefully it does. One thing you don’t need is to have somebody die by an impaired driver.”
Effective July 1, a driver charged with driving with a blood alcohol level greater than 80 mg per cent faces an immediate licence suspension, which remains in effect until the criminal charge is resolved in court.
As well, drivers now face immediate vehicle seizures for periods starting at three days and increasing with any subsequent charge.
Also, all drivers convicted will now be required to have ignition interlock devices in their vehicles for up to five years. The cost of the installation and maintenance of the devices, which can run into the thousands of dollars, will be borne by the driver.
Also effective July 1, persons with graduated licences who are convicted of driving after consuming any alcohol face an immediate 30-day licence suspension and a seven-day vehicle seizure.
“People continue to drive when they are over .08,” said Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver. “We need a more effective way to change that behaviour. These penalties are about making sure that all of us feel more secure when we go out on Alberta’s roadways.”
In other Sundre RCMP news, the electronic speed sign that has been posted in Sundre school and playground zones in recent days seems to be working to get drivers to slow down, says Sgt. Leipnitz.
“I’ve had positive comments from several drivers,” he said.
The sign is part of the department’s education and awareness efforts aimed at getting drivers to drive within speed limits in area such as school zones, he said.
The sign will be placed around town in areas where police have received complaints of speeders and distracted drivers.
Sundre RCMP officers responded to 292 calls for service in May, including for 27 collisions.
There were three distracted driving calls, one driving with no insurance call, 40 other provincial traffic violation calls, nine impaired driving calls, and 10 24-hour suspensions given out.
On the criminal code side, police responded to 15 persons related calls, 31 property related calls, eight drug related calls, 12 other calls for such things as disturbing the peace, and two firearms calls.
Officers responded to three missing person information requests, 14 false alarms, four abandoned vehicle calls, and 35 requests for police information checks.