Tough, swift penalties for impaired drivers

Provincial Press Release November 30, 2020 @ 12:55pm published at 1:45pm


Starting Dec. 1, police will be able to administer stricter impaired driving penalties on the road, while most first-time impaired driving charges will be handled quicker outside of court through SafeRoads Alberta. Impaired drivers could face larger fines and lose their vehicles for up to 30 days.

SafeRoads Alberta, a new adjudication branch, will allow drivers to pay their fees online, request more time to pay their penalty, or dispute their Immediate Roadside Sanction or vehicle seizure.

“I want to be very clear: impaired driving is always unacceptable. SafeRoads Alberta will help get impaired drivers off the road and free up court and police resources – allowing police to focus on keeping our communities safe and the courts to focus on the most serious matters.” Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
“SafeRoads Alberta will deliver a fast and efficient way to pay for first-time impaired driving charges, but if you get behind the wheel impaired, the toughest and swiftest penalties in Canada are waiting. These moves make Alberta roads safer and get police back fighting rural and urban crime instead of stuck in the courts.” Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation

In the most serious cases, including repeat offenders and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death, individuals will still receive criminal charges on top of the other penalties.

“We applaud the implementation of Phase 1 of Bill 21 by the Government of Alberta. This proven system of addressing impaired driving will reduce the time our officers and the courts must commit to dealing with these serious offences while still holding impaired drivers accountable. This allows our officers to spend more time focusing on the community to reduce crime and victimization. In addition, it has been shown that dealing with impairment with sanctions to the subject’s vehicle in the first instance drastically reduces future offences. We look forward to the full implementation of this new legislation. Dale McFee, president, Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police
“MADD Canada welcomes the implementation of these new measures to address the impaired driving problem, and we thank the Government of Alberta for its leadership. These measures deliver strong, immediate penalties and sanctions to those individuals who continue to disregard the law and put lives in danger by driving impaired. They will reduce impaired driving and save lives." Andrew Murie, chief executive officer, MADD Canada
“Impaired driving has tragic consequences that devastate families and communities. Alberta’s new impaired driving framework delivers immediate penalties that match the seriousness of this crime and are proven to reduce impaired driving and make roads safer. What’s most sobering, however, is that every case of impaired driving is completely preventable – we implore all Albertans to make a plan and separate substance use from driving.” Jeff Kasbrick, vice-president of government and stakeholder relations, AMA

Quick facts

  • Under the new impaired driving laws, significant penalties will be handed out roadside, getting impaired drivers off the streets immediately. Stronger penalties for impaired driving include:

  • Fines of up to $2,000

  • Vehicle seizure up to 30 days

  • New mandatory education programs for repeat offenders

  • Mandatory ignition interlock for repeat offenders

  • New zero-tolerance consequences for novice drivers and commercial drivers will also be introduced.

  • The Alberta Transportation Safety Board will finish hearing cases submitted before Dec. 1 and is expected to wrap up operations by March 31, 2021.

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