09/01/2012 08:00 EDT | Updated 11/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta's New Drunk Driving Rules: What You Should Know About New, Stiff Penalties

EDMONTON - New Rules on Drunk Driving in Alberta:

— Drivers caught with a blood alcohol concentration of .05 but less than the Criminal Code limit of .08 will have their licences suspended for three days and their vehicles impounded for three days.

— For a second offence, it's a 15-day licence suspension, the vehicle is impounded for a week, and the driver must take a day-long course on the dangers of drinking and driving.

— For all subsequent offences, the licence is taken away for a month, the vehicle is impounded for a week and the driver must take a weekend course on the impact of alcohol on his or her life.

— New drivers on graduated licences can't have any alcohol in their system while driving. If caught above .05 but below .08, it's a month-long licence suspension and the vehicle is impounded for a week.

— There are no fines or demerits. Towing and impound fees are borne by the driver: tow fees start at an estimated $116 and impound fees begin at $30 a day. If a drivers licence is suspended for more than three days, the driver must pay to get it back —about $22.

— Alberta will keep a 10-year record of offences.

— Three-day seizures of vehicles and licences can't be appealed, but longer suspensions can be appealed to the quasi-judicial Transportation Safety Board.

— Under laws that took effect July 1, drivers caught with higher than .08 blood alcohol concentration and charged criminally will have their licences suspended until the case is resolved in the courts.

— Drivers over .08 have their vehicles seized for three days on the first offence and for a week for every offence after that. They also have to take courses on the dangers of drinking and driving and, if the arrests continue, a weekend course on how alcohol is impacting their lives.

— If convicted of the Criminal Code charge, the driver has to install an ignition interlock for one year for the first conviction, three years for the second conviction and five years for the third. These devices check the driver's breath and won't allow a vehicle to start if alcohol is detected.

— In 2010, 96 people were killed in Alberta in crashes involving drinking and driving. For every person killed, about 14 were injured. Over the last five years, 569 people have died in such crashes on Alberta roads.

— Impaired driving is the largest single criminal cause of death in Canada.

— The number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes in Alberta has fallen by 24 per cent between 2007 and 2010.

— British Columbia introduced similar legislation in 2010 and has seen a drop in the number of alcohol-related road deaths.

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