Steeper consequences for drunk drivers take effect Nov. 1
Increased fees, mandatory interlock device among changes coming
Increased fees, impounding vehicles, and a mandatory device to unlock your steering wheel are coming for people convicted of impaired driving in New Brunswick.
The provincial government is putting new consequences in place for drunk drivers as of Nov. 1.
Among them, those convicted of an impaired driving charge will be obligated to have an alcohol ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Chris O'Connell, the registrar of motor vehicles, explained that the device works like a breathalyzer.
"When a person is required to have this in their vehicle, in order to start their vehicle, they need to provide a breath sample into the device and there needs to be no presence of alcohol," he said.
Until now, the devices have been a voluntary option for convicted drunk drivers.
In the last year, 160 people have signed up for the program.
But as of Nov. 1, it will be mandatory for convicted drunk drivers after their court-imposed driving suspension is over.
The devices will cost $95 a month to rent.
The judge will decide the time limit keeping the device installed.
Stiffer punishment for novice drivers
Police will also now be able to suspend drivers for 24-hours at roadside if they are found impaired.
There will also be stiffer penalties for novice drivers still in the graduated licence period if any alcohol is detected on their breath if stopped by police.
If caught, drivers will immediately have their licences suspended for seven days, as well as have their vehicles impounded for a week.
If convicted, novice drivers will get a one-year driving suspension and have to start the process of getting their full licence all over again.
Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry said the new regulations will make New Brunswick one of the toughest jurisdictions in Canada with respect to drunk driving.
"We understand other provinces that have these measures have seen a real difference in motorists," he said at a news conference Thursday.
Last year alone, 1,076 people were convicted of drunk driving in New Brunswick.
RCMP say they dealt with 17 deaths caused by impaired driving during the same period.