Sober thoughts on driving while drunk

Over the last five years, alcohol-related collisions killed 569 people and another 8,630 were injured.

Len Wagner, Safety consultant

Over the last five years, alcohol-related collisions killed 569 people and another 8,630 were injured.

In 2010, alcohol-related crashes were estimated to have cost Albertans up to 2.2 billion dollars.

Even if you don’t consider the pain and suffering … could you imagine what could have been done with an extra 2.2 billon in our provincial coffers?

There seems to be a real paradox surrounding impaired driving. When I speak to groups of sober people, I never have anyone say they would drink and drive.

In fact, they’re adamant that it’s a very stupid thing to do. However, once those very same people start drinking, their ability to reason and use good judgement goes away with the drink. As they become impaired they can become more willing to risk it all and get behind the wheel of a car.

As of this July 1, the penalties for exceeding .08 changed significantly. There will be an immediate driver’s licence suspension that will remain in effect until the legal matters have been concluded. A vehicle seizure is also involved and, if convicted, a mandatory ignition interlock will be placed on your vehicle.

On Sept. 1, the penalties for exceeding .05 will also be expanded to include a three-day licence suspension and a three-day vehicle seizure for the first offence. Penalties will increase for subsequent offences.

It’s important to know that the .05 limit is not new. It has been the limit for a 24-hour suspension for many years in Alberta. It’s only the penalty that’s changing.

This law is aimed at keeping all Albertans safe on our roads. If you have ever wondered how to estimate your BAC, visit the “knowthelimits.ca.”

If you ever think you might be over the limit, don’t take the chance, find an alternative way home. The life you save might be your own.

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