Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Alberta's new "impaired" driving legislation.

More bad law written by a bored government trying to pander for votes.

From the St Albert Gazette: The government also plans new suspensions for drivers caught with an alcohol limit between 0.05 and 0.08. Drivers caught within that range the first time would face a three-day suspension and three-day vehicle seizure, rising to a 15-day suspension and seven-day seizure on the second offence and 30-day suspension and seven-day seizure on a third offence.

There are plenty of reasons why this is bad law, and I could write pages as to why, but just for the fact alone that one is tried and convicted at the side of the road with NO chance of an effective appeal makes this legislation a farce. While I realize that arguing against drunk driving law is like arguing against kittens, I would hope that most Albertans can see that this legislation for what it is. Written for optics and pandering.

From the comments: "The argument seems to be that not enough drivers are being caught and convicted, therefore the limit must be lowered."

Updated with link to newer post on Bill 26.


gerry said...

sorry but i really don't agree with your view. What part of drinking and not driving don't you get? The solution is so simple if you drink do not drive

RJ65 said...


If you think that a level less than 0.08 and greater than 0.05 is still impaired, then do this properly and lobby for a change in the criminal code - where it belongs. Not through this back door.

Impairment aside, it is simply wrong to seize property without an opportunity to go to court for a civil matter. Unfortunately, we don't have property rights enshrined in the constitution which would put a swift end to this legislation.

Frances said...

Gerry - do you trust the breathalyzers that much? There is information out there to the effect that the portable models aren't always that accurate. So you're convicted on faulty evidence - that's okay because 'if one life is saved'?

Also, this does absolutely nothing to get the real killers out there - those who routinely drive at higher than 0.08. All it does is discourage law-abiding adults from going out to a celebratory meal and sharing a bottle of wine.

harebell said...

And so it should.
People working in industry are not allowed to operate machinery after drinking; why should anybody expect to be allowed to operate a 2-3 ton object at speeds up to 110 kph if they have been drinking?
That's what a designated driver is for, or a taxi or even a brisk walk. When me and the missus go out and drink is served we agree before hand who is going to drive, then that person doesn't imbibe.
I have no sympathy for anybody who drives and is caught having a BAL over the legal maximum. We all know what it is and we all know that if we don't drink we can't exceed it.

Alex said...

Law makers making laws for their own sake.

Not a single one of the terrible stories you might hear about drinking and driving would have been averted by this law. Those criminals broke existing tough laws and would not have taken half a second to ponder if they are over 0.5 or 0.8.

This is nothing but stealth prohibition and loss of liberty and due process. I sincerely hope every last supporter of this gets hassled by the side of the road one day so they are summarily suspended and towed.

Anonymous said...

just drive, the hell with them all. nazis are going to expand and survive with the current intellectual level of the electorate. they all want to be slaves at the price of freedom.

Martin said...

When federal criminal code legislation was passed many years ago, after careful deliberation,.08 was the agreed impairment limit. A generation of drivers have accomodated themselves to this fact, and enormous changes have occurred in attitudes. The argument seems to be that not enough drivers are being caught and convicted, therefore the limit must be lowered. Routine RIDE programs turn up a very tiny percentage of impaired drivers, indicating that attitudes have changed, the education has worked.
Unfortunately the drunk accident mayhem is caused by a minority of drivers 2 to 3 times over the .08 level. A logical program would target these people, not the ones in the .05 to .o8 range.

oxygentax said...

Why doesn't the Alberta government pass a law mandating those "blow before you go" kill switches that make you blow clean before you can start the engine?

If you're going to treat virtually the entire population of drivers as criminals, then they should be blatant about it.

Mark S. said...

While I understand the sentiment of the folks on this chain who are saying: “Don’t drink and drive, period.” I still believe it’s bad law.

Throw the book at +0.8 drivers! And if the Parliament of Canada makes the legal limit 0.5, then throw the books at those folks too. But this side-of-the-road ‘Judge Dredd’ stuff goes against Natural Justice and our ancient rights as free peoples, both of which require due process.

Anonymous said...

What's next?
Maybe Ms. REDford will allow the police to collect fines for other road infractions "in cash of course" at the side of the road.
Typical controlling, social engineering leftey.

Rob C

Ardvark said...

gerry: That may be the solution but Redford's legislation doesn't really come anywhere close to accomplishing that does it?

I would have more respect for them if they proposed a '0' bac level than by arbitrarily setting .05 as the mark in a lame attempt to look like they are doing something.

Ardvark said...

Did you know: No one has ever been convicted of impaired driving based on a road side device alone.

But here is Alberta they may take your car away and give you no recourse based on one of those road side devices for doing something that is not even a crime.

Tweet from @RAnderson: of those who cause road deaths 60% no BAC; 22% +.16; 11% .08-.16; 4% below 0.05; ONLY 2% by .05 to .08

Kari said...

Okay that's all fine and dandy but now drunk people are going to have to compete with people able to drive for cabs. They better double the cab licenses if this is their plan. Lots of people like "A" drink with dinner when they go out.

This gov't is useless. Grrrrrr! I really thought it couldn't get worse than ED! I'm regretting being outraged that they cancelled the fall sitting, now i wish they'd stuck to that. We need a new law in AB that when a new leader is elected no legislation can be passed until an election. We can call it Redford's Law. Our very own Obama right here in AB. OMG! in AB?! Bring on an election ASAP!

Anonymous said...

I heard the Premier talking about how she plans to have these laws enforced by the time Christmas comes. She does not care about due process, the right to appeal, or the innocent people that are going to be 'convicted', she only cares about how this is going make her look.

Martin said...

People who enjoy a glass or 2 of wine with a dinner, are in for a rude shock when the .05 level appears on the meter. The problem is that people don't associate a family toast, with impaired driving. With this draconian legislation they will have to. Great numbers of respected people will obtain the stigma of drunk drivers.

L said...

It has become a disaster in BC, as sensible drivers are being caught up in a system that lacks any semblance of due process and is expensive. Eventually, the law will be shot down. Restaurants are suffering for almost no benefit. Believe me, most people driving well, having had a glass of wine for dinner, generally drive better than sober, careless drivers.

Anonymous said...

Why is it we fail to address 'driving while under the influence of recreational drugs'?

The roads are rampant with it as anyone paying attention to the road knows from having to drive amongst these clowns who think no one observes their erratic behaviour as they blissfully drive behind the wheel.

Back to the original post on alcohol levels and driving...many over .08ers could be discouraged if the cops just set up shop at the entrys and exits of bars at closing time.
Isn't gonna happen though.

Anonymous said...

Moral panic is a dynamic in which some threat to the social order - usually something taboo - causes a response that goes far beyond
meeting the actual threat. A socio-political stampede, if you will.

The group dynamic contrived from such moments of social unity often yields startlingly extreme results. Policymakers tend to abandon even the "mean” of their personal convictions and then willingly adopt the most extreme position offered to them

Take a look at the proposed legislation. It’s got everything - including but not limited to expanded "administrative" authority to arbitrarily seize/impound vehicles and suspend licenses at the road side with police acting as judge, jury and executioner - an improvisation to
accommodate the massive power of the bureaucracy. If it’s “administrative” it must be reasonable and just - or so goes the Hobbesian non-thinking.

Exploiting the tragedy of those victimized by DUI for political gain is nothing short of Machiavellian.

Tragic as it was no law could have averted the recent deaths of the 4 teen-age football players from Grand Prairie.

Alberta already has more than enough existing legislation to deal with this very real problem - "Reckless endangerment" or "Driving without due care and attention" both come to mind. But that would require the arresting officer to exercise judgment and to attend court and testify - messy and expensive..

This is much more than just a bill about DUI. It’s a blunt expansion of unfettered government. Redford can move on legislation like this
because DUI is a social taboo. The inference is too strong in too many minds that opposing government initiatives on DUI somehow condones it. Redford is using taboos to cow Albertans into accepting yet more government growth and even more future subservience.

The proposed law is designed to neatly reduce police effort & costs and enhance revenue while placating those who demand "There ought to be law."

Moral entrepreneurs such as MADD and others claiming to speak on behalf of the public and in concert with the media further amplify the problem by creating "folk devils" (i.e., us vs. them) and then propose extreme measures as solutions to a problem that must be dealt with before it is too late.


A politician who seizes power through guile and duplicity is compelled to exert tyranny to obscure its own mendacity.

Anonymous said...

Fact: you are over this limit with one drink.
Fact: police lie and will attempt to infer a charge, by stopping you without cause. It's your word vs the cop's in court. Who wins?
As one poster stated: trials are messy and police have to show before a judge. RCMP failed to show at my impaired and I walked.
I never drink if I'm driving since, because I don't trust the cops to not stop me, charge me anyway and have to prove my innocence in court. They can and will lay a charge, even when there is no evidence and will structure their report accordingly. Police are crooks, too and they have the law on their side, not yours.

Funny, I haven't seen a check stop in Calgary for close on 20 years. The unit is rusting in some police compound and the AB government has now handed police the power to seize property on a whim as government agents, with vitually no provocation on your part. Breathalizers are known to be out up to 10%, ask a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Bill 26 passed turd reading late last night.
Vote was 30 in favour, 7 against with no abstentions.
Curiously, 46 MLAs were absent, only 1 Tory MLA voted against it. (Three Hills/Olds)

Some thoughts follow:

To call this a democratic vote is a travesty - obviously there were many MLAs who were against the bill but didn't have the spine or the cojones to stand up to the premier - Who by the way doesn't even hold a democratically elected seat.

When Redford won (stole) the premiership she eschewed a fall sitting, but relented when the opposition howled.
In retribution she declared an abbreviated session and then simultaneously tabled several controversial bills, extended contrived debate sessions into the wee hours and then invoked closure.

The opposition should have been more careful of what they wished for - we're now saddled with draconian legislation that will be virtually impossible to rid ourselves of.

"Hell hath no fury...."