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MADD Canada applauds proposed N.B. impaired driving laws

By Regis Phillips May 10, 2024 | 8:41 AM

MADD Canada is commending the New Brunswick government for taking steps to enforce road safety and combat impaired driving.

The new legislation, announced on Tuesday, aims to strengthen penalties and implement an immediate roadside suspension program.

MADD Canada CEO Steve Sullivan says this will benefit smaller and rural detachments in particular, adding it will cut down on the time preparing paperwork, and allow officers to respond quicker to other reported crimes.

Drivers who fail or refuse a roadside screening test could be handed an immediate roadside suspension instead of criminal charges.

An immediate roadside suspension includes a 15-month suspension, a 30-day vehicle impoundment, and participation in an approved impaired driving re-education program.

Drivers would pay a $1,000 administrative penalty, an increased licence reinstatement fee of $230, and the costs of impound and a re-education course.

Once that is done, they would have to participate in the ignition interlock program for 12 months.

Officials said the program is based on similar British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba models.

Sullivan says the improvements have risen nationwide in his fifteen years with the non-profit.¬†However, he believes people are still driving while impaired because of the slim chance they won’t get caught.

“They never think they’re going to hurt somebody or themselves, and I’ve got to tell you, at MADD Canada, we provide support for victims and survivors, every single one of those people didn’t think it wasn’t going to happen to them either,” said Sullivan.

MADD Canada believes the immediate roadside suspension program is an effective tool to combat impaired driving and reduce tragedies on the roads.

The non-profit encourages the public to plan for a safe ride home if they know they will be consuming alcohol or drugs and call 911 if they suspect someone is driving impaired.