HALIFAX â€“ Children in Nova Scotia are better protected with new impaired driving penalties effective today, May 1.
Motorists convicted of impaired driving who had a child passenger at the time of the incident, could lose their licence for at least two years.
"Impaired driving remains one of the leading causes of death and serious injuries in motor vehicle crashes in the province," said Maurice Smith, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. "The province has some of the strongest penalties for impaired drivers. Today we're getting even stricter by increasing penalties for those who choose to drive impaired with a child in the car."
Convicted impaired drivers with a blood-alcohol level of more than .08 receive a criminal record, lose their licence for one year and face a minimum fine of $1,000. They also have to complete an addictions program, and may also have to participate in the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program.
As of today, those convicted of impaired driving with a child passenger face increased penalties, including losing their licence for at least two years and must participate in the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program, for at least one year, at their expense. The program includes a device that will not allow a car to start if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath.
"MADD Canada applauds the Nova Scotia government for its continued fight to reduce impaired driving," said MADD Canada Atlantic Region director Susan MacAskill. "We are especially pleased to see the government taking this step to protect children from impaired driving. These stronger sanctions will more effectively address those drivers whose behaviour puts children at risk and will be a powerful deterrent to others."
About one-third of people killed on Nova Scotia's roads each year are as a result of impaired driving.
"Keeping the province's roads safe is a shared responsibility," said Mr. Smith. "I urge everyone to respect all road users, buckle up, slow down, leave your cell and smart phones out of reach, and drive sober."
For more information on the province's road safety initiatives, go to http://novascotia.ca/tran/roadsafety/roadsafety.asp . For information on the interlock program, go to www.interlock.gov.ns.ca .