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New Brunswick imposes tougher rules on drinking and driving

By COS staff
| www.cos-mag.com

The New Brunswick Public Safety Ministry is set to implement new amendments to the province's Motor Vehicle Act calling for tougher measures for motorists caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

FREDERICTON – Starting June 24, New Brunswick motorists found with a blood alcohol concentration of between .05 and .08 per cent during a roadside test will have their driver's licence suspended for seven days, according to a statement from the province's Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Robert Trevors.??

"Our goal is to change the culture around drinking and driving in New Brunswick," said Trevors. "Too many people think it is perfectly safe to have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. This is not the case. Our message is very simple: if you choose to drink, do not drive."

Most Canadian jurisdictions impose short-term licence suspensions on drivers with blood alcohol levels exceeding .05 per cent. All provinces have adopted zero blood alcohol content limits for young or novice drivers as part of graduated driver licensing schemes.??

This amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act replaces the current 24-hour licence suspension.??

If a driver tests between .05 and .08 during a roadside test, police will give immediate notice of the seven-day licence suspension and indicate the driver has the right to a breathalyzer exam, the ministry said.??

For drivers whose blood alcohol content level tests higher than .08 per cent at roadside, police will continue to enforce an immediate 90-day suspension, even before the case goes to court.??

If the breathalyzer indicates a level less than .05 per cent, there will be no suspension.

Records of short-term suspensions are kept by local police forces. The registrar of motor vehicles is not informed of the suspension, and the information is not recorded on the driver's abstract.

However, police officers who request the surrender of a driver's licence will keep a written record of the suspension along with the driver's name, address, date and time of the incident. ??

Previous amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act have given police explicit power to stop a vehicle on suspicion of drinking and driving and request a breath sample. ??

"We want people to understand that drinking and driving is not tolerated in New Brunswick," said Trevors. "The consequences of such behaviour will be immediate and severe."

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