January 17th, 2021

Police focus on impaired driving for December traffic enforcement campaign

By Herald on December 7, 2020.

The Lethbridge Police Service is looking to raise awareness of the rules and regulations regarding impaired driving as its focus for the Select Traffic Enforcement Program for December.

Police remind the public that drinking alcohol or using drugs and driving is a threat to everyone on the road. In Canada, impaired driving is said to be the leading cause of criminal death, killing an average of four Canadians each day. What makes this even more disheartening is that impaired driving is entirely preventable.

Alberta’s impaired driving laws were changed as of Dec. 1, 2020 with the intention of keeping our roads safe by providing serious and immediate consequences for impaired drivers. 

With the introduction of Bill 21 there are now five types of sanctions that will result in a license suspension for impaired drivers:

  • Immediate Roadside Sanction: Fail

–          Applies to drivers who are reasonably believed to be impaired by drugs or alcohol; for drivers who are over the federal legal limit for alcohol or drugs; for drivers who refuse to provide breath or fluid samples

  • Immediate Roadside Sanction: Warn

–          Applies to drivers with a blood alcohol content that is equal to or exceeds 50 mg (0.05)

  • Immediate Roadside Sanction Zero: Commercial

–          Applies to drivers operating a commercial vehicle registered over 11,794kg with any alcohol or drug in their body

  • Immediate Roadside Sanction Zero: Novice

–          Applies to novice drivers (GDL) with any alcohol or drug in their body

  • Immediate Roadside Sanction: 24 Hour Suspension

–          Applies to any driver that may have a medical or physical condition or have consumed alcohol or drugs that affect their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle


With each of these sanctions comes a specific period of license suspension and in some cases, a vehicle seizure as well. Additionally, drivers will be required to pay a substantial fine and fees associated with the seizure of their vehicle. Those drivers who are given an ‘IRS: Fail’ will also be required to take part in an educational course and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle before they can apply to have their license reinstated.

Although COVID-19 has caused challenges for programs such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Operation Red Nose to operate as usual this holiday season, Lethbridge Police will be holding Christmas check stops and will deal with impaired drivers in a manner that is safe for the driver and officers.

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