Manitoba

Impaired drivers will lose their vehicles immediately under new sanctions

Beginning Dec. 16, drivers will immediately lose their vehicles for registering a “warn” (a blood alcohol content of .05 to .079) on an approved screening device.

Drivers who get a warning on a screening device will face tougher consequences starting Dec. 16

People in Manitoba will soon face tougher consequences for impaired driving. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Stronger, more timely consequences are coming for impaired drivers in Manitoba starting next month.

Beginning Dec. 16, drivers will immediately lose their vehicles for registering a "warn" (a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.079) on an approved screening device.

The new immediate roadside prohibition also increases sanctions for drivers. A first violation includes a $400 fine, and vehicle impoundments start at three days.

Drivers who fail a roadside test, or register a blood alcohol content at or over 0.08, can face a $700 fine and mandatory ignition interlock for a year. Drivers who refuse to take a roadside screening device test will face the same consequences as those who fail one.

Under the new system, testing a suspected drunk driver can take as little as six minutes, the province said in a news release.

In 2018, 70 people were killed and 437 were seriously injured in traffic collisions on public roadways in Manitoba, and impaired driving accounted for 40 per cent of those killed, the province said.

In 2019, at least 10 people have lost their lives because of an impaired driver.

'Not getting the message'

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen says some drivers are still not getting the message.

"Impaired drivers are still taking the lives of Manitobans and we need to do more to make sure people get the message that this is unacceptable," said Cullen.  

"Immediate roadside prohibition ensures on-the-spot consequences for making the poor decision to drink and drive. The consequences are clear — impaired drivers will lose their licence, their vehicle and face significant financial penalties."

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy said the new sanctions will help keep impaired drivers off the roads in Manitoba.

"Without a doubt, the immediate roadside suspensions will be a powerful tool that will help our officers to quickly remove impaired drivers from Manitoba roads, making our highways and roadways safer for all," said MacLatchy.  

Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, said the advocacy organization welcomes the new provisions.

"Having quick, strong, short-term sanctions offers a powerful deterrent to those who might otherwise drive impaired," said Murie.  

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