The manager of a Regina bar will be mindful of new impaired driving laws once they come into effect January 1, 2017.
On Monday, the Ministry of Justice and SGI announced sweeping changes to Saskatchewan’s impaired driving laws, including a three-day vehicle seizure for experienced drivers who are charged for the first time with having a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.04 to 0.08.
General manager of Victoria’s Tavern, Jordan Hackel said he was happy to hear stricter penalties were introduced to combat the worst drinking and driving stats in the country.
“Obviously we’re at a point right now where it’s becoming a problem. It’s a serious problem,” he said.
While alcohol tolerance varies from person to person, someone drinking two or three drinks with a meal may reach that threshold.
According to SGI, drivers with BAC levels between .04 and .08 were involved in collisions that killed three people in 2015.
Keeping an eye on how much patrons are drinking is something Hackel will be mindful of come the new year.
“If that means in the bar, we have to be conscious about it like, ‘hey man, don’t drive home’ and actually talk to them about it, maybe that will change how people are thinking about it as well,” he said.
Another proposed amendment to the Traffic Safety Act includes zero tolerance for alcohol for drivers 21 and younger — up from the current age of 19 and younger.
While many students agree with stricter punishment, they question why drivers 21 and under are singled out.
“What’s the difference if you’re 21 or 43? Impaired driving is impaired driving. Yes, there are irresponsible people but they’re at every age,” University of Regina student Brittany Dorland said.
“I don’t know a lot of people my age honestly that drive drunk. So I don’t know that it’s necessarily an ‘our age’ issue,” student Angeline Smith said.
In a press release, the government of Saskatchewan said the new law expands to drivers 21 and under because that age group is involved in “significantly more alcohol-related collisions compared to drivers under 19.”
SGI will also be providing $500,000 for law enforcement to increase check stops targeting impaired driving.
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