EDMONTON — Albertans now face stricter penalties when drinking and driving, according to the province’s new Bill 26, the Alberta Traffic Safety Amendment Act.
Already, those who are caught driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.08 can be charged, but, under the new law, those who are being criminally charged with drunk driving will lose their licenses until the charges are resolved.
The new law will also punish drivers caught with blood-alcohol levels between 0.05 and 0.08 — below the criminal limit — and will face a three-day licence suspension and a three-day vehicle seizure for a first offense.
The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) is worried about the impact of the new regulations on the foodservice industry. “We share the government’s goal of getting drunk drivers off Alberta roads,” says Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the CRFA. “The proposals brought forward by government must appropriately target drunk drivers, not intimidate ordinary Albertans, and cost hospitality industry jobs.”
The CRFA surveyed Alberta licensees about how these tougher charges will impact liquor sales. The survey found 82 per cent of licensees felt the new administrative penalties will have negative impact on liquor sales. In B.C., 88 per cent of the CRFA’s licensed members lost an average of 21 per cent in liquor sales following the first six months of similar penalties being introduced.