There are many people talking about the 0.05 drunk driving changes to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act. But perhaps the bigger picture is being missed. The PC Government has subtly changed the officer’s discretion portion of the 24 hour roadside suspension (Section 89 of the Act).
Previously, you could have your license suspended for a day if the officer suspects a driver’s impairment as a result of alcohol, drug, or ‘any other substance.’ This didn’t change.
However, added to it was if an officer suspects that a “medical or physical condition that affects… the driver’s physical or mental ability” they can also take away their license – new paragraph 89(1)(a) of the amended Traffic Safety Act.
So, what defines a medical or physical condition? Sadly, this is open to an officer’s interpretation, who, although well trained for their job, is not a medical professional.
My brother-in-law lost his right leg in an industrial accident. He now wears a prosthetic limb, and drives a normal vehicle, using his left foot for the gas and brake. Would this be considered a “physical condition that affects the driver’s physical ability”? I would submit to you, yes, by definition only.
Since losing his leg, my brother-in-law has constantly driven his vehicle with no problems whatsoever. However, this new legislation now gives the power to take his license away on a road-side suspension.
This begs the question, why would the PC Government introduce legislation taking rights away from the mentally and physically handicapped?
I’ve made my choice. I have given up supporting the PC Government, and have made the switch to the Wildrose Party who realizes these changes are horrible for our society.
Cory G. Litzenberger