Impaired Driving Laws Being Changed Ahead of Cannabis Legalization

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Impaired Driving Laws Being Changed Ahead of Cannabis Legalization

The province is toughening their impaired driving laws ahead of the legalization of marijuana.

Bill 29, introduced by Minister of Transportation Brian Mason on Tuesday, plans to incorporate new federal changes to the country’s criminal code for impaired driving laws into Alberta’s traffic safety act.

“Impaired driving due to alcohol, cannabis or any other impairing drug or combination of drugs, is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada,” said Mason, in a release.

“These tragedies are entirely avoidable. Alberta's impaired driving laws aim to reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads, encourage safe driving behaviour, and strongly discourage impaired driving."

If passed, drivers who’ve served a 90-day suspension for driving impaired will be given the choice of either participating in a one-year ignition interlock program or have their license suspended for one-year.

This change comes after the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn part of the traffic safety act which suspended drivers licenses until resolved in court.

Some of the other changes include zero tolerance for cannabis, like alcohol, while expanding provincial sanctions for drivers with a blood drug concentration or blood drug/alcohol concentration over the new criminal limits.

For anyone caught with a blood alcohol concentration that is equal to or exceeds 80 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood, they could face $1,000 fine for a first offense, imprisonment for 30-days for a second offense, and imprisonment for 120-days for a third or more offense.

People could also face up to 10-years in prison for an offense that dangers the public or causes the death of somebody else.

The Federal Government has said legalization is expected by July 1, 2018.
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