Wel­com­ing tougher rules on drunk driv­ing in N.L.

The Pilot - - Editorial -

Well, they’re here.

And it’s about time.

Barely a day goes by that the Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary or the RCMP don’t re­port catch­ing a drink­ing driver, ei­ther as part of a high­way stop or through the dili­gent re­port­ing of driver who spot some­one driv­ing er­rat­i­cally.

It’s still an ev­ery­day oc­cur­rence de­spite penal­ties, de­spite the gen­eral pub­lic em­bar­rass­ment, de­spite the fact that it’s a clearly ac­cepted fact that drink­ing and driv­ing kills.

Yes­ter­day, new rules kicked in that lay even more strict con­di­tions and penal­ties on those who in­sist on driv­ing af­ter drink­ing.

Here, in case you’ve missed them so far, are the changes, par­tic­u­larly for those who can’t seem to fig­ure out that drink­ing and driv­ing don’t mix, cour­tesy of Ser­vice NL:

“A driver whose li­cence is sus­pended af­ter an im­paired driv­ing con­vic­tion will be re­quired to en­ter a manda­tory ig­ni­tion in­ter­lock pro­gram as a con­di­tion of re­in­state­ment.

“Driv­ers less than 22 years of age will be re­quired to main­tain a blood al­co­hol con­tent of zero per cent while driv­ing.

“Any driver found to have a blood al­co­hol con­tent of 0.08 or greater will have their ve­hi­cle im­pounded for a min­i­mum of 30 days.

“Driv­ers who are 22 years of age or older who are found to have a blood al­co­hol con­tent of 0.05 or greater but less than 0.08, will have their ve­hi­cle im­pounded for seven days.

“Novice driv­ers and driv­ers un­der 22 years of age will have their ve­hi­cle im­pounded for seven days if they are found to have a blood al­co­hol con­tent greater than zero but less than 0.08.”

The changes are High­way Traf­fic Act rule changes, not crim­i­nal code changes, but the im­pacts will be felt swiftly — es­pe­cially by those who lose their ve­hi­cles af­ter blow­ing over .08, a move that should also halt driv­ers from leav­ing po­lice cus­tody and im­me­di­ately get­ting into their cars and try­ing to drive again.

The most ex­pen­sive change for drink­ing driv­ers, though, is likely to be the manda­tory ig­ni­tion in­ter­lock sys­tem that any­one con­victed of drink­ing and driv­ing will have to have in­stalled be­fore they can get their driver’s li­cence re­in­stated.

A Saskatchewan in­ter­lock pro­gram lists a litany of fees from the pri­vate provider for those who have to in­stall the sys­tems: $145, plus tax, for in­stal­la­tion; $80 a month, plus tax, for mon­i­tor­ing fees; $50, plus tax, re­moval fee, and a $105, plus tax, ad­min­is­tra­tion fee. That’s about $1,400, all in, per year. Some prov­inces also add their own ad­min­is­tra­tive fees on top of the cor­po­rate costs. (And don’t for­get the in­crease in in­sur­ance costs.)

The sim­ple fact would be that none of the changes would be nec­es­sary if peo­ple would sim­ply un­der­stand that they shouldn’t drink and drive.

Sadly, though, the only so­lu­tion seems to be a big­ger stick.

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