May 18th, 2024

Lethbridge Police ready to deal with new impaired-driving laws

By Lethbridge Herald on December 1, 2020.

New impaired-driving laws which go into effect today should allow Lethbridge Police Service to collar more offenders and provide greater safety to those they share the road with.
Under Bill 21, police are able to administer stricter impaired-driving penalties on the road, while most first-time impaired-driving charges will be handled quicker outside of court through SafeRoads Alberta. Impaired drivers could face larger fines and lose their vehicles for up to 30 days.
SafeRoads Alberta, a new adjudication branch, will allow drivers to pay their fees online, request more time to pay their penalty, or dispute their Immediate Roadside Sanction or vehicle seizure.
“This streamlines the system, so we can identify more impaired drivers and get them off the road,” said Kevin Talbot, Acting Staff Sgt. with Lethbridge Police Field Operations Support Services, in a news release.
To view the Government of Alberta news release and related information on Bill 21, go to
While Lethbridge Police will still be conducting impaired-driving investigations, Talbot says Bill 21 should reduce the amount of time they need to spend on each.
“In the past, you stop an impaired driver and your evening is done for probably three hours once you do the roadside, get the sample, do up the paperwork,” he says. “This process is very short and sweet. It shouldn’t take more than a half hour to do it.”
Under existing regulations, the work has just begun if the driver pleads not guilty. The Lethbridge Police records management unit has to put together disclosure documents for prosecutors and the investigating officer could be tied up in the ensuing court process for as much as a year or longer.
Talbot notes that process also proved costly through overtime wages, since the investigating officer was often called to court on days off.
Not only have Lethbridge Police trained its frontline officers and records staff on the new procedures, they’ve also purchased an additional 20 roadside screening devices, doubling their current inventory.
“In the end, if we have more equipment on the road, we can get more impaired drivers off the road,” Talbot says.
As for the annual Christmas Checkstop campaign, Lethbridge Police do have dates set for December and are in the process of making adjustments to ensure the safety of the public and its officers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Am I the only one who has a problem with these new “laws”? From the sounds of it the officer has now become judge, jury and executioner. I dont want impaired drivers on the road, but I also want people to have the full protection of the law. Innocent till proven guilty as the saying goes. If they want to raise the fines, great. If they want to raise penalties( license suspensions, incarcerations) also great. But one thing that i think is paramount is to be judged by a judge or a jury of your peers, otherwise it just becomes a revenue generator or a tax.


It’s almost always dangerous to allow the police to be both judge and jury. These are two skill sets that should not be conflated for someone’s idea of expedience.

Of course, based on the logic of the Three Amigos on City Council, check stops cause impaired driving, and that our liberty to drive drunk trumps public safety. I wonder if they will be consistently vocal on this issue.


The bill only increases the penalties for impaired driving… And you want to rant about ‘judge jury and executioner’ bulls*** as if there were any mention of new powers of authority that were given to them and you react in fear as if we are living in Xin Jiang!
You know what impaired-driving laws have done in the last decade? Nothing. There will almost always be impaired morons who think doing anything less than whatever they want, isn’t ‘freedom’. People need to have respect and caution when it comes to drinking and driving.. If we aren’t going to do anything about the vehicle-crisis then we will continue to destroy our environment and incur thousands of lethal collisions every year.


Ok let’s say you are “charged” under the new “administrative” penalties you have 1 week to file an appeal then you appear (by video) in front of an adjudicator, not a judge by the way who decides whether your case has merit. And this happens within 21 days, hardly enough time for proper disclosure. Want to cross examine the officer or the accuracy of the breathalizer? Tough, his statement is enough. Does that sound like fair justice to you?
I personally am not concerned about this as I don’t drink, but view this in the same way as Photo Radar(which I also have never gotten a ticket for), the system is stacked against you from the start. Like I said in the beginning if you want to increase the financial cost and the time of incarceration I’m ok with that, but to streamline justice is never a good idea when the primary reason is money and resources.


making matters worse, police are now experts on determining whether someone is impaired by thc, simply by running the poor driver through several idiotic “tests” that a tired driver would just as likely “fail”. my issue with this is the entirely subjective nature of the “test” – there is no veracity whatsoever. the “testing” process has been investigated by the likes of fifth estate, and there is nothing favourable to support it.
moreover there is a significant issue with regard to herding drivers to the road side under a process is without cause. that is to say, people in a free society must have every right to go about their business without being stopped by police without just cause. jaywalking, ok; burned out light on the car, ok; driving infraction, ok…but simply because there is a possibility someone on the road is impaired is not just cause to set up dragnets. a massive overstep by govt creep into freedom, and another of too many recent rulings by the supreme court that fudges freedom in the so-called name of “security”. so now, we have added greater infringements into our freedom to move about, bill 21 being the newest piece of bull we have to deal with.
no one wants idiots on the road, or anywhere where they can cause harm to another. but how are we willing to give away fundamental rights to uphold safety? how safe are we when uninsured, unlicenced and prohibited drivers take to the streets while sober? hardly – and yet, the penalties for such ignorant behaviour are miniscule compared to impaired driving. up the penalties if need be, and moreover, enforce the penalties. but do all of this within the realm of ensuring our fundamental freedoms. “educated” guesswork around who is impaired by pot, and the indiscriminate herding of drivers to the roadside for mandatory “expert” observation, breathalysers, car seizures, and a guilty determination by police is – what one expects in a police state.

Dennis Bremner

This can all be traced back to some dead conservative, I am sure! If you are impaired and caught driving a vehicle, just say you are a drug addict and have a disease (according to all the important people in society) that should be an easy “get out of jail free” card!

Last edited 3 years ago by Dennis Bremner

I still find it strange that the charge/penalty is the same for any amount of impairment. Two glasses of wine at dinner vs one entire bottle of vodka… imagine if it was the same ticket for driving 101 km/h vs 171 km/h