Harsher impaired driving laws in the works for N.B.

WATCH ABOVE: Proposed changes to drinking and driving laws in New Brunswick will make it more difficult to be on the road as an impaired driver in New Brunswick. As Global’s Laura Brown reports, victims of drunk drivers say it’s about time.

FREDERICTON – Public Safety Minister Stephen Horsman proposed new legislation he says would keep more impaired drivers off New Brunswick roads.

The legislation would boost N.B. from ranking lowest on the strength of its laws, to one of the strongest.

“We’ve been working for this for so long, it’s just, very overwhelming,” said Kali O’Dell, a victim of an impairment-related accident.

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“This is a good Christmas present.”

READ MORE: Impaired driving cases still far too high: RCMP

O’Dell’s parents were killed by a drunk driver near Salisbury, N.B. in 2006. She and her little brother were instantly orphaned.

She has been working with Mothers Against Drinking and Driving for years, advocating for stricter laws.

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On Friday, those laws were introduced in the N.B. legislature by Horsman.

They include:

  • The addition of vehicle impoundments for drivers with blood alcohol content (BAC) levels between the warning range 0.05% and 0.08%
  • Making alcohol ignition interlocks mandatory for the relicensing of drivers convicted of a DUI
  • Escalating roadside licence suspensions for drivers with repeat infractions
  • Introducing a 24-hour suspension for drivers who are found to be unfit to drive, according to the officer who has pulled him/her over.

“The fact that it’s being announced right before Christmas means quite a bit to me because my two daughters and I, they were three and five at the time, were struck by an impaired driving on December 8, 2012,” said MADD Fredericton president, Danielle Cole.

If the proposed changes become law, Horsman says it will save lives.

“We’re going to go from the bottom of the pile under MADD Canada’s watch, to the top. In Canada,” he said.