The Strategic Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) for the month of December will focus on impaired driving. Unfortunately, impaired driving is still a major contributing factor in fatal and serious injuries in Alberta. On average, 6,000 people were convicted of impaired driving in Alberta each year for the last five years. And from 2008-2016, 574 people died and nearly 8,000 people were injured as a result of alcohol- or drug-impaired driving.
Impaired Driving Laws:
- Having a BAC of 0.08 or over within two hours of driving is a criminal offence.
- In Alberta, and in most other Canadian jurisdictions, a driver with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.079 may face provincial consequences through the Immediate Roadside Suspension Program.
- Cannabis limits are measured using nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in blood.
- There are criminal penalties for cannabis when a driver has over 2 ng/ml but less that 5ng/ml of THC in blood and when a driver has 5 ng/ml or more THC in blood.
- There are also criminal penalties for combined drug and alcohol impairment when a driver has 2.5 ng/ml or more THC combined with 50 mg/100ml or more alcohol in their blood.
With the holiday season upon us, it is important to plan ahead for a safe ride home from your Christmas celebrations, if you have consumed alcohol and/or drugs. Some tips include:
- Before you head out, decide in advance who will be the designated driver.
- Make sure you have the contact information for local taxi companies and ride share services.
- If you’re hosting an event, let your guests know that no one drives away from your party under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Be prepared in advance to help your guests find a safe way home.
Throughout the holiday season, you can expect increased officer presence as check stops are conducted in an effort to promote safe roads.
Sgt. Gerald Sadlemyer
Medicine Hat Police Service