Officials wary of spike in impaired drivers across Maritimes
Published Sunday, November 26, 2017 8:14PM AST
Last Updated Monday, November 27, 2017 10:46AM AST
Officials are expressing concerns about the number of impaired drivers charged during the last weekend of November in the Maritimes.
A vehicle was reported to be weaving on the Westmorland Street Bridge in Fredericton on Saturday morning. The vehicle sustained two flat tires and damage to the front end. Police say the vehicle hit a concrete wall a couple of times and the driver will face impaired driving charges.
“It’s dangerous, and it's illegal and you're gonna get busted and your life will change if you get caught, much less the damage you could do to someone else’s life,” says Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien.
Police in Halifax say 75 people in the city were charged with impaired driving in the month of October alone, and 55 of them were behind the wheel when they were caught. Officers say two were believed to be impaired by drugs, and 18 others had their driving privileges taken away temporarily after it was determined they were under the influence of alcohol.
Danielle Cole, the president of the local MADD chapter in Fredericton, says she’s shocked by the latest tallies.
“It’s very disheartening, especially with all the new legislation that has come into play November 1, and to see the magnitude of it is very disheartening,” says Cole.
New rules in New Brunswick mean a driver with a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08 could have their vehicle impounded for up to a week. Drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher will face an even stricter penalty.
“They’ll lose their vehicle for 30 days or 60 days on a second offence,” says Const. Patrick Small of the Fredericton police.
O’Brien says penalties in the province are stricter now because impaired driving puts others at risk.
“You will lose your job probably where you're working, and you'll probably affect potential workforce down the road,” he says. “The other part is that you could take someone’s life.”
He also adds that younger generations seem to be better at responsibly planning ahead than older generations.
“It gets to the point where you’re so intoxicated or impaired you're not able to make the correct judgement,” says Cole.
A $95 per-month alcohol ignition interlock is now mandatory for anyone convicted of impaired driving in New Brunswick.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.