New drinking and driving penalties in Manitoba come into effect Dec.16
Published Thursday, November 7, 2019 12:59PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2019 6:56PM CST
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba is taking a new approach in an effort to curb drinking and driving.
New legislation amending the Highway Traffic Act in the province has created stiffer penalties with “on-the-spot consequences” for people who register a ‘warn’ on an approved roadside screening device and a faster alternative to the breathalyzer test for drivers who register a ‘fail.’
It’s called immediate roadside prohibition and the rules will take effect Dec.16, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced Thursday.
“This is another tool to discourage drinking and driving,” said Cullen
Drivers who register a ‘warn’ — which comes from having a blood alcohol content of .05 to .079 — on an approved screening device will be hit with a new $400 fine for a first violation, $500 for a second infraction and $600 for third and subsequent offences. A ‘warn’ reading will also result in drivers losing their vehicle for three days for a first offence and 30 days for a third or subsequent infraction. It also comes with an existing three-day licence suspension for a first violation and up to 60 days for subsequent offences.
“These drivers will lose their licence and lose their vehicle and that is a win for Manitobans,” said Manitoba RCMP Supt. Scott McMurchy.
A ‘fail’ —for having a blood alcohol content at or over .08 — or refusal to take a roadside test will result in a $700 fine, an immediate three-month driver’s licence suspension and vehicle impoundment for between 30 and 60 days. Drivers who fail roadside tests will also have to use a mandatory ignition interlock for one year.
The traditional option of criminal charges remains an option for serious cases involving injury or death or if there are other aggravating factors.
Ten people have died so far this year in Manitoba due to impaired driving, Cullen said.
B.C. has had similar rules since 2010 and they’ve been credited with saving 351 lives and reducing alcohol-related deaths by 50 per cent.