A Leduc woman who has been pushing for stronger laws around impaired driving says she’s not pleased with Alberta’s newest legislation set to come into effect next week.
Starting April 9, drivers who register a blood alcohol content over .08 will receive an immediate 90-day licence suspension, followed by a further one-year licence suspension that can be reduced if the driver agrees to the Alberta Ignition Interlock Program.
Previously, suspected drunk drivers charged with a criminal offence would lose their licence during court proceedings.
Sheri Arsenault has been urging tougher impaired driving legislation for the last six years, after her 18-year-old son Bradley and two of his friends — Thaddeus Lake and Kole Novak — were killed by a drunk driver.
She told Global News that the legislation takes a step towards decriminalizing impaired driving, and fears the changes could jeopardize safety on the road, especially with the legalization of marijuana expected later this year.
“Nobody wants to get that knock on the door by a man in a uniform with his hat in his hand — I’ve had that knock.”
Arsenault believes the risk of a criminal record can help prevent people from driving while impaired, and she would be “heartbroken” if impaired driving punishment was reduced to an “administrative fine.”
Just last month, Arsenault spoke before the Senate Justice Committee, calling for changes to Bill C-46.
She wants to see a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in jail for people convicted of impaired driving causing death. Arsenault says she doesn’t expect to see her proposal move forward based on the current government.
The CEO of MADD Canada, Andrew Murie, told Global News last week he’s glad to see the changes to Alberta’s legislation, noting the Ignition Interlock Program will ensure people cannot get behind the wheel drunk.
Arsenault says she recently sent letters to every Alberta MLA, asking them not to decriminalize drunk driving.
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