June 27, 2019 3:17 pm
Updated: June 27, 2019 8:33 pm

What penalties impaired driving could net you over the Canada Day long weekend

The Government of Alberta is reminding people about the penalties of driving while impaired ahead of the Canada Day long weekend.

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Alberta’s provincial government is reminding drivers of the penalties of driving impaired ahead of the Canada Day long weekend.

Over the last five years, an average of 6,000 people were convicted of impaired driving in Alberta.

According to the provincial government, 855 people have been killed and nearly 13,000 people were injured in Alberta between 2008 and 2017 as a result of alcohol or drug-impaired driving.

Alcohol impairment penalties

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Provincial impaired driving laws state that having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher within two hours of driving is a criminal offence.

A driver with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.079 may also face provincial consequences through the Immediate Roadside Suspension Program.

READ MORE: What’s causing fatal crashes on Alberta roads? A reminder ahead of the May long weekend

Cannabis impairment penalties

RCMP said officers will also be checking suspected drivers for cannabis consumption over the long weekend.

Cannabis limits are measured by the nanograms (ng) of THC in the blood.

More than two ng/ml, but less than five ng/ml of THC in the blood could result in a maximum $1,000 fine.

A driver with over five ng/ml of THC in their bloodstream could face a minimum $1,000 fine on their first offence, a mandatory 30 days in prison on their second offence, and a mandatory 120 days in prison on their third offence.

The same penalties would be applied to a driver with 2.5 ng/ml of THC in their bloodstream combined with alcohol.

Fines increase for drivers who refuse to provide a sample to police.

First-time offenders could face a minimum fine of $2,000, a mandatory 30-day stint in prison on their second offence, and 120 days in prison on their third offence.

READ MORE: Preliminary inquiry set for Lethbridge man charged with impaired driving causing death

WATCH: In less than six months, cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals will become legal in Canada. Ahead of the rollout, the government has unveiled its rules on packaging these products. Ross Lord explains. 

The provincial government is joining traffic safety advocates and emergency response organizations to recognize Impaired Driving Awareness Month in July.

“The summer season offers travellers the best conditions for safe driving, yet fatal collision rates rise during the summer months. These collisions are preventable, and it’s up to all Albertans to make sure our roads are safe,” Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver said.

“Please plan ahead this summer and make smart choices: don’t drive while impaired and be prepared to make alternate travel plans if consuming drugs or alcohol.”

According to the government, long weekends in the summer experience around 50 per cent more fatalities and 15 per cent more injuries than the rest of the year.

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