CALGARY -- Police will be able to hand out stricter impaired driving penalties roadside, to get impaired drivers off the streets immediately.  

Starting on Dec.1 through SafeRoads Alberta, a new adjudication branch, first-time impaired driving charges will be handled quicker outside of court and impaired drivers could face larger fines and lose their vehicle up to 30 days.

SafeRoads Alberta, will allow drivers to pay their fees online, request more time to pay their ticket, or dispute their penalty or vehicle seizure.

“I want to be very clear: impaired driving is always unacceptable,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Kaycee Madu. “SafeRoads Alberta will help get impaired drivers off the road and free up court and police resources – allowing police to focus on keeping our communities safe and the courts to focus on the most serious matters.”

In the most serious cases, including repeat offenders and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death, individuals will still receive criminal charges on top of the other penalties.

“We applaud the implementation of Phase 1 of Bill 21 by the Government of Alberta. This proven system of addressing impaired driving will reduce the time our officers and the courts must commit to dealing with these serious offences while still holding impaired drivers accountable,” said Dale McFee, president, Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police.

“This allows our officers to spend more time focusing on the community to reduce crime and victimization. In addition, it has been shown that dealing with impairment with sanctions to the subject’s vehicle in the first instance drastically reduces future offences. We look forward to the full implementation of this new legislation,” Mcfee said.

The stronger impaired driver penalties include:

  • Fines up to $2,000
  • Vehicle seizure up to 30 days
  • New mandatory education programs for repeat offenders
  • Mandatory ignition interlock for repeat offenders

According to the release, new zero-tolerance consequences for novice and commercial drivers will also be introduced.

The Alberta Transportation Safety Board will finish hearing cases submitted before Dec.1 and is expected to complete operations by March 31, 2021.