Starting Nov. 1, impaired drivers in New Brunswick will face much steeper penalties for their actions.
According to The Canadian Press, any person convicted of drunk driving will automatically have his or her vehicle impounded for up to two months. Upon repossessing their licenses, drivers will be forced to have a mandatory ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle—and pay for their $95 per month cost. Ignition interlock devices work in much the same was as breathalyzers and won't let a vehicle start unless the driver is under the legal alcohol limit.
The change is a step up from the current measures for drivers found to be driving with a blood alcoholconcentration (BAC) above 0.08, which is considered the legal limit in most places, including New Brunswick. Those driving between the warning range of 0.05 and 0.08 will also face harsher penalties as well. Their suspensions will reportedly be longer than the seven-day rule that was instituted in 2011, and remain on their driving records. Finally, police will also have the authority to suspend drivers for 24 hours at their own discretion, depending on how concerned they are about the safety of a driver and the harm he or she could potentially do to others.
MADD Canada representative Danielle Cole, who has herself survived a crash with a drunk driver, was pleased with the New Brunswick government's actions.
"Looking back at B.C., they imposed impoundment in 2010 and it reduced impaired driving crashes by 50 per cent. The same was done in Alberta and it reduced crashes by 43 per cent," she said.
New Brunswick has already been experiencing some positive results with regard to impaired driving. According to Statistics Canada data, it is one of only two provinces in Canada where impaired driving rates have decreased for under-20 drivers. In total, the province sees approximately 1,000 drunk driving convictions per year.