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New impaired driving legislation in effect for N.L.

Amendments to the province's Highway Traffic Act and Regulations related to impaired driving came into effect on Thursday.
Amendments to the province's Highway Traffic Act and Regulations related to impaired driving came into effect on Thursday.

Changes to Newfoundland and Labrador’s legislation regarding impaired driving went into effect on Thursday.

Bill 68, amending the Highway Traffic Act, received unanimous approval when it was debated in the House of Assembly in this past March.

“Today, we take one more step in our efforts to change the conversation around impaired driving in our province,” Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh said in a news release.

“This new legislation builds upon our commitment to making our roads, highways and communities safer for everyone. Our objective is to encourage everyone to develop safe and sober driving habits.”

The changes are as follows:

- 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 zero blood alcohol content 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; and

- 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 provincial government worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada and the province’s two polices forces to develop the legislation.

“The changes being implemented, particularly the vehicle impoundment provision and the zero blood alcohol content requirement for young drivers, will have a significant impact on reducing impaired driving, saving lives and preventing injuries,” said MADD Canada national president Patricia Hynes-Coates.

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