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Traffic Safety Act amendments a positive step towards improved public safety, says AMA
Edmonton (November 15, 2017) AMA supports the Alberta government’s efforts to revise the Traffic Safety Act related to impaired driving, including the proposed changes to include cannabis in the zero tolerance provisions for drivers in the graduated licensing systems.
AMA has always advocated for effective impaired driving penalties that act as a deterrent and it is critical that both alcohol and drug impaired driving penalties are aligned. Impaired driving, whether by alcohol or drugs, remains a leading criminal cause of death, and one that is completely preventable. According to a 2016 AMA member survey, 56 per cent of members said that they will be more concerned about traffic safety after cannabis legislation than they are currently.
“Alberta continues to demonstrate essential leadership in addressing this important public safety issue,” says Jeff Kasbrick vice president of government and stakeholder relations at AMA. “This legislation is all about safety. These changes will provide the framework needed for Alberta to continue its progress in dealing with impaired drivers.”
Yesterday’s changes follow the federal introduction of Bill C-46 earlier this year, along with the recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision that ruled part of Alberta’s Administrative Licence Suspension unconstitutional. AMA is also encouraged that Alberta is continuing its evaluation of other provincial administrative licence-suspension programs, including British Columbia.
To ensure Alberta is fully prepared to respond to the legalization of cannabis and drug-impaired driving, AMA encourages a robust public education program and additional training and resources for police services. Less than a third (30 per cent) of AMA members said they were knowledgeable about how cannabis affects driving, while almost nine out of ten (86 per cent) agreed that additional training and equipment should be provided to the police to detect cannabis use in drivers.
“Drug-impaired driving is a complex issue that is further complicated with unfortunate myths and misconceptions,” says Kasbrick. “We need to ensure that the public is aware of, and understand, the consequences of this. We must also ensure that the police have the training, tools and resources they need to successfully carry out their duties and ensure traffic and public safety.”
The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is among the largest membership organizations in Alberta, representing more than 975,000 members. As a leading advocate for traffic safety, travel and consumer protection and crime prevention, AMA represents the interests of its members to industry and all levels of government and helps protect the things they care about most. Visit ama.ab.ca to learn more about AMA’s products, services and member advocacy efforts.