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Government beefing up impaired driving rules

Drunk drivers shouldn’t be on the road and police officers should have clear rules to stop them if they are.
Drunk drivers shouldn’t be on the road and police officers should have clear rules to stop them if they are.

Service NL Minister Perry Trimper announced new measures Thursday which will impose tougher rules for impaired drivers — a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 22-years-old, roadside impoundment of vehicles and a mandatory interlock program for impaired drivers.

“The changes we are announcing today will deter impaired driving, prevent impaired driving repeat offences, and help the young people of our province develop sober driving habits,” Trimper said.

MADD Canada national president, Patricia Hynes-Coates, thanked Trimper for the changes.

“Impaired driving is the leading cause of death among young people,” Coates said.

“In August 2003, my stepson, Nicholas Coates, was killed by an impaired driver.”

Hynes-Coates said she believes that the new rules for driving in N.L. will save lives.

“Nicholas died because somebody made that choice to get into their vehicle after drinking,” she said.

“Impaired driving is a serious crime and it requires serious deterrence.”

The requirement of zero blood-alcohol content for drivers under 22-years-old is meant to create habits among young people to separate drinking and driving.

Both the government’s move to require mandatory ignition interlock devices on vehicles after an impaired driving conviction, and the ability for roadside impoundment of vehicles would bring N.L. in line with most other provinces.

Trimper said that St. John’s currently has the highest rate of impaired driving of any city in Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador is above the national average when it comes to impaired driving rates.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

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