Lowering legal blood alcohol limit a 'good measure:' RCMP officer

Lowering legal blood alcohol limit a 'good measure:' RCMP officer

An RCMP officer on P.E.I. says a proposal from the federal justice minister to lower the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers from .08 to .05 is a "good measure."

"Impaired driving remains a serious problem in Canada — anything that would reduce the instances of impaired driving is a good measure to consider," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Baillie on Compass. 

A lot more people are calling 911 to report impaired drivers, Baillie said, but it's not enough. 

"Everyday I scan the files that come in … unfortunately, it seems like just about everyday or weekend there are one or more impaired drivers."

The issue with 80

In a letter provincial ministers dated last May, federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the change could help keep drunk drivers off the road,

Baillie said the problem with the current law is that it suggests that everybody is impaired at .08, when in fact many individuals are impaired at a much lower blood alcohol content.

He once had the opportunity to be a subject on a breath-test training course, he said. 

"My own blood alcohol was tested and at a level much less than 80 (milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood) I felt impaired — I wouldn't consider driving."

There are a number of drivers on P.E.I. that the RCMP gives breath tests to that blow between 50 and 80, Baillie added.

"The present laws allow us to charge someone with impaired driving, but these are difficult cases to get through the court if the person has blown less than 80," he said. "If it were lowered to 50 milligrams they could face a criminal charge."

Deterring people from impaired driving​

While it's important to be strict when it comes to impaired driving charges, Baillie said, it's a measure that's also about deterring drivers from ever getting behind the wheel in the first place.

"If we go out there on the roads and check a number of vehicles and don't catch any impaired drivers, I think we're doing a much better job then."

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