As you’ve probably heard, the federal government is on the verge of legalizing the production and sale of regulated marijuana. Have you ever considered driving while under the influence of marijuana? Are you familiar with Alberta’s new impaired driving laws? Did you know that an impaired driving conviction could affect your ability to purchase car insurance in Edmonton? Here’s what you need to know.
Driving under the influence
In order to drive safely, you need to be alert and focused. When drivers are distracted by drugs or alcohol, there can be extremely serious consequences. In Alberta, between 2006 and 2015, more than 1,000 people were killed due to alcohol or drug-impaired driving and more than 15,000 people suffered injuries.
On April 9, 2018, Alberta’s impaired driving laws were updated. Drivers should know that:
- There is zero tolerance for the presence of cannabis or illegal drugs in the bloodstream of GDL (Graduated Driver Licensing program) drivers. GDL drivers who have any amount of cannabis in their bloodstream will face a 30-day suspension of their license and a lengthened stay in the GDL program.
- Criminally-impaired drivers (drivers impaired by drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs) will face an immediate 90-day suspension of their license as well as an immediate three-day seizure of their vehicle.
- Convicted drivers are obliged to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program for one year. This program involves the installation of a monitoring device in their vehicle that locks the ignition if they’re intoxicated.
What is the difference between criminally impaired and impaired?
A non-GDL driver who is operating a vehicle with an alcohol level of 0.05 to 0.08 is considered a non-criminally impaired driver. A non-GDL driver who is operating a vehicle with an alcohol level of 0.08 or higher is considered criminally impaired. Impaired drivers are not charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, although they are subject to immediate and serious penalties.
Drive safely! If you’re ever convicted of impaired driving, the insurance industry will consider you as a “high risk driver” and your premiums could dramatically increase. The next time that you’re researching auto insurance quotes from local insurance companies, please consider contacting HDF Insurance. We’re proud to serve all of our customers in Edmonton and across Alberta. It will be our pleasure to help answer all your questions about car insurance.