Days before the new impaired driving penalties come into effect, the Tory government maintains the new legislation will not go after casual social drinkers.

Starting Sept. 1, the stricter, controversial penalties will target drivers with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 and above.

Solicitor General Jonathon Denis believes the new penalties should not affect regular people.

"My message is that if you haven't been getting in trouble before, you are not going to get in trouble now," he said. "We are not changing the threshold, just the actual penalties."

As part of Bill 26, first-time offenders who blow more than 0.05 will have their vehicle seized for three days and their licence for one week. The penalties increase with each offence after that.

If a motorist was to blow over .08, their licence would be suspended until the charges are dealt with.

Denis himself went and tested to see how much it takes to get to .05.

Last November, he downed four beers in 45 minutes and ended up blowing more than 0.08.

"I would submit that is not social drinking; that's pretty hardcore university-style drinking," Denis said. "Even when I dipped down below 0.05, there is no way I would be driving."

His assistant drove him home at the end of the day.

The new penalties for breaking the .08 limit have been in place since July 1. Last month, 149 motorists had their vehicles seized and licences suspended in Alberta.

Critics of the new penalties, though, still maintain it's penalizing the wrong people.

Wildrose MLA Shane Saskiw said the focus should be on the people who blow well over the legal limit who typically cause fatalities.

Source: The Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2012-09-13 | Link to this post