Some statistics have been released on Alberta's new "tough" drunk driving laws and the province says they're "promising".
Firstly, this is not enough of a proper data set to make a statement like that.
Secondly, there were 770 three-day vehicle seizures for people blowing between .05 and .08. Remember, these people have not committed a crime as they did not blow over .08 as per the Canada Criminal Code, but the Alberta government has assumed they have the right to seize your property. The interesting thing is, with the new law, whether you blow between .05 or .08 or if you blow over .08, your vehicle is seized for three days regardless. So doesn't that imply a similar offence? Before, if you blew over .08 you received an automatic 24-hour suspension but your vehicle was not seized. Now it's three days for over .05.
Thirdly, what the province hasn't addressed is the real problem--repeat offenders. You've heard the stories of drunk drivers being convicted multiple times only to be allowed back on the road multiple times.
Also, there is not enough conclusive evidence to show that drivers causing death or accidents had a BAC between .05 and .08. So why .05? Why not .04? Who determined that .05 is the standard or did the Alberta PC gov't just copy what BC was doing?
Thankfully, the law is being challenged in court as to its violation of the fundamentals of our justice system--that is, you're being presumed guilty until proven innocent.
"Lawyer Fred Kozak is involved in a constitutional challenge of that aspect of the new law in Court of Queen's Bench this December. The challenge claims automatic licence suspensions are unconstitutional because they violate the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. "Is it fair to punish people prior to their trial?"What the new law appears to be admitting is that the province has not put their foot down with those who blow over .08 and especially the repeat offenders to send that message to drivers who get behind the wheel after a bunch of drinks.
Let's admit what it is, it's a smoke screen law, supposedly to be a preventative measure, and it allows police to be judge and executioner on the spot without due process, and now the government is releasing selected statistics to show that they're doing something to curb drinking and driving without addressing the real issues.
To me, what would be a fairer, more applicable compromise law is if someone blows .05-.08 using the roadside Breathalyzer, that they receive a 24-hour license suspension, get around 8 demerits like a normal traffic violation, and a $500 fine, you know, like speeders or bad drivers. If it happens again within a period, then your license is suspended for a year, and you then need to take a driving class and get a road test again.
What are your thoughts?