Drinking and driving is a major issue in Newfoundland and Labrador, and a new policy has been introduced with a no tolerance attitude towards young drivers.
The province has introduced a new, zero-tolerance policy to keep young drivers sober behind the wheel.
For drivers 21 and younger, the consequence for registering any blood-alcohol level is a seven-day driving suspension. The new rules also include mandatory ignition interlocks for offenders.
Lawyer Bob Buckingham says the police will play a pivotal role in making this policy known.
“That is going to be a straight-forward decision of the government to the RNC and RCMP to go out and enforce it,” said Buckingham. “If they stop a young person and they think the person is under the influence, then they will make the appropriate decision.”
Buckingham also says spreading awareness about this new policy should not only be the job of the police.
“There’s going to have to be an educational component to it,” said Buckingham. “Not only just a police component. I think that comes about in our schools and as well in driver training courses and just general advertising in the community. I hope the government undertakes an advertising campaign as part of the education on this.”
MADD president Patricia Coates says when this policy comes into effect, police will have greater latitude to pull young drivers over.
“RNC and RCMP officers will have the ability to pull over anyone that they suspect that has been impaired,” said Coates. “If they can smell alcohol, they will then ask you for a sample.”
Coates says that there are major consequences to be considered if you’re a young driver.
“If you register anything above zero, then you will automatically be charged with having alcohol in your system,” said Coates. “If you’re under the age of 22, then of course you will lose your vehicle and your license for a designated amount of time.”