A Wildrose government would repeal legislation that targets drivers with a 0.05 blood alcohol limit and will instead focus on checkstops across the province to target drunk drivers, say party representatives.

“We have not seen evidence that this legislation is effective and the evidence we have seen is that our idea of five dedicated checkstops that go around the province and enforce the 0.08 law will address the serious offenders much more effectively,” said Drew Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat.

“I am 110 per cent behind this,” said Ralph Steiert, owner of Ralph’s Texas Bar and Steakhouse in Medicine Hat.

Steiert says since the 0.05 legislation was introduced patrons at Ralph’s have stopped buying a bottle of wine to have with dinner and go for a glass of wine instead or do not order any alcohol at all.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said the party would fund five new checkstop teams of sheriffs that would be dedicated to holding checkstops around the province.

“That would be in addition to what local police are able to do,” said Barnes.

In September 2012 new legislation for impaired drivers took effect targeting those with a blood alcohol level of .05. The limit had previously been .08.

New breathalyzer equipment was introduced for roadside testing. The guilty have their vehicle seized for three days on the first offense.

A second breathalyzer test is given at the roadside for those individuals where immediate roadside sanctions take effect.

The second and third offense brings a seven-day vehicle seizure and a mandatory ignition interlock if there is a criminal charge and conviction.

Those with a Graduated Drivers License receive an immediate 30-day license suspension if they fail a roadside breath test and a seven-day vehicle seizure regardless of who the vehicle belongs to. Every time a GDL driver is caught, an additional year can be added to their GDL license.

Steiert says the legislation went in the wrong direction and targeted people just slightly over the blood alcohol limit rather than the really drunk people who are the ones getting into the sort of crashes that claim lives.

“Our research shows that so often the impaired drivers involved in accidents are far past 0.08,” said Barnes.

Opposition to the new legislation did not subside after it went into effect.

“We’ve been hearing from many people who are still upset,” said Barnes. “Police officers and first responders have told me that they are not happy being the policeman and a judge when someone is between the 0.05 and 0.08 limit and it has been a tremendous hardship on our hospitality industry.”

Source: Medicine Hat News


Last updated on: 2014-07-22 | Link to this post