New drivers must abstain from drinking for longer now that the Nova Scotia government is enacting a provision in the Motor Vehicle Act passed seven years ago, but never put into force.

The section will force learners to drive alcohol-free for five years, up from two.

“Over the course of a young driver's learning and tutelage.. I think it's very reasonable that we have a zero tolerance for alcohol for at least until they get five years of experience behind the wheel. So I think it's a pretty reasonable thing that Nova Scotians can understand,” said Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan.

Longtime anti-drinking and driving activist and Liberal backbencher Margaret Miller pushed for the change.

The former head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says there are also plans to cut reformed convicted drunk drivers some slack.

“We have numerous people in this province who have gotten lifetime drinking bans from incidents when they were young and stupid and thoughtless and have turned their lives around and yet still have this lifelong ban. So I think one of the things we're going to be working [on] is a faint hope clause," she said.

The provision would allow offenders to drive, as long as they have an alcohol ignition interlock in their vehicle.

Miller says experience shows that people with lifetime driving bans will break the law if there is no reasonable hope to have those bans lifted.

Drivers who blow above the legal limit of 0.08 face charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.