New impaired driving rules that came into effect Thursday are a step in the right direction, says a Conception Bay South man who lost his son to a drunk driver 20 years ago.

The new regulations, meant to be tougher on those who drink and drive, include a new blood-alcohol level of zero for anyone 21 and younger and the mandatory use of ignition interlocks for a year by anyone who gets their first conviction.

Richard Murphy, whose son was killed by an impaired driver in Ontario 20 years ago, especially likes the new impound rule, which allows any vehicle operated by a drunk driver to be seized on the spot — whether the driver owns the vehicle or not.

"Before, someone would loan their vehicle to someone who they suspected of drinking or that they may think are going to drink," he said.

"Well they're going to think twice now, because if that person gets caught it doesn't make no difference who owns the vehicle, that vehicle is gone."

Impaired drunk driving check point

Changes to Newfoundland and Labrador's highway traffic act mean a person's vehicle will be impounded for three days for a first offence or if they refuse to give a breath sample. If there is a second offence within 10 years the vehicle will be seized for seven days, and a third offence will result in a 30-day impoundment. (CBC)

Murphy said the new rules are long overdue, but a positive step in the right direction.

While he would like to see a zero tolerance policy for all drivers, he said having it apply to drivers under the age of 22 will help get young people used to the idea that impaired driving is unacceptable.

"In 15 or 20 years time, these will be the 40-year-old drivers. Hopefully they will have learned. The habitual drunk drivers are up in the 40s, 50s, 60s. We're seeing it every day in the court system," he said.

"For every deterrent, there could be a life saved."

Read all the new impaired driving regulations here.

With files from Anthony Germain