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Changes to impaired driving laws
Alberta’s impaired driving laws changed effective December 1, 2020. A new Immediate Roadside Sanctions program will keep our roads safer by providing serious and immediate consequences for all impaired drivers.
Read Freeing up police and courts to make Alberta safer for more information.
In addition to any penalties under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Province of Alberta will suspend your driver's licence privileges and impose conditions you must meet to have your driving privileges reinstated. The Province of Alberta suspension is served at the same time as a court-ordered driving prohibition.
Driving while your driver's licence privileges are suspended or disqualified
If you operate a motor vehicle while your driver's licence driving privileges are suspended or disqualified you can face time in jail, fines, or both. In addition, if you are currently serving a suspension, you will face another suspension. The vehicle you are driving will be seized and impounded for 30 days regardless of who is the registered owner. All towing charges and impound fees will be charged to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Your driver's license driving privileges can be suspended or disqualified. If you receive a driver's licence suspension or disqualification you will receive notification via registered letter to the last recorded address on your driver's licence record, from Driver Fitness and Monitoring , indicating the reasons for your suspension or disqualification.
If your driver's licence driving privileges are suspended or disqualified, your Notice of Suspension letter will identify the length of your suspension or disqualification and the conditions that you must meet to have your driving privileges reinstated.
When you have met the conditions of your suspension or disqualification you will receive another letter from Driver Fitness and Monitoring, indicating that your suspension or disqualification has been removed and the date you are eligible to operate a motor vehicle.
Reinstatement of your driver's licence privileges as a result of an alcohol, drug or drug-alcohol-related offence
When you are convicted of an alcohol, drug, or alcohol-drug-related offence, your driver's licence privileges suspension takes effect at that time.
A Notice of Suspension will be sent to you by mail to the last recorded address on your driver's licence. Make sure your driver's licence has your current address.
Suspensions remain in effect until all the conditions on the Notice of Suspension are met. This includes drivers who have left the province. Read your notice carefully to ensure you have met the conditions of your suspension. If you have not met the conditions of your suspension your driving privileges may not be reinstated.
The Notice of Suspension will include all the conditions that must be met prior to reinstatement of your driving privileges.
For an alcohol, drug, or alcohol-drug-related driving charge some of the conditions that you may have to meet are:
1. Attend a 1-day driver program.
2. Attend a weekend driver program.
3. Participate in Alberta's Ignition Interlock Program (IIP).
You will also be required to pay the reinstatement fee and take a road test.
After your suspension period is over, you must go to an Alberta Registry Agent office and provide proof that you have met your reinstatement requirements. The registry agent will then be able to issue you a driver's licence. A written notice that says your driving privileges have been reinstated will be mailed to you.
If your driver's licence expires during the suspension period, it cannot be renewed until all the conditions for reinstatement have been met.
Ignition interlock program
Alberta’s Ignition Interlock Program (IIP) is:
- designed to help individuals separate high-risk behaviours of driving while impaired
- used as an educational tool to prevent recidivism, and
- used to prevent high-risk drivers from operating their motor vehicle while impaired
Alberta’s IIP allows drivers to remain mobile so they can access support and treatment, maintain employment, and care for family members while still ensuring public safety through effective monitoring and restricted driving privileges. The IIP involves the installation of an interlock device in a vehicle which will measure the breath alcohol concentration level of the driver and will lock the vehicle ignition (vehicle will be unable to be started or driven) if a breath alcohol concentration reading is above the specified threshold level.
Alberta's IIP includes 3 different participation streams:
- Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) Program of IRS: FAIL IIP: This program is for drivers who are issued a driver’s licence suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program for criminal-level impaired driving, and where the occurrence date was on or after December 1, 2020.
- Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension (AALS) Program IIP: This program is for drivers who are issued a driver’s licence suspension under the AALS Program for criminal-level impaired driving, and where the occurrence date was on or before November 30, 2020.
- Mandatory IIP: This participation stream is mandatory for all drivers who have been convicted of impaired driving under the Criminal Code (Canada), as part of their reinstatement requirements. Drivers must fully serve their required term in the Mandatory IIP in order for the applicable reinstatement condition code to be completed/removed from their motor vehicle file and to fully reinstate their driver’s licence. Drivers in this participation stream must demonstrate a sustained ability to separate high-risk behaviours.
Reinstating your driver's licence privileges as a result of a demerit point suspension
Driver's licence suspension
- A Notice of Suspension letter will be mailed to the last address recorded on your motor vehicle file. It is your responsibility to notify an Alberta Registry Agent office anytime you change your mailing address.
- The Notice of Suspension letter will indicate the conditions that must be completed prior to reinstatement of your driving privileges.
- The Notice of Suspension will indicate the effective date of your suspension.
- You must turn your driver's licence over to any Alberta Registry Agent office on or before your effective date. It is illegal to be in possession of your driver's licence while you are serving a suspension. It is a serious offence to operate a vehicle while serving a suspension.
- You must serve the term of the suspension.
Provincial suspensions may be imposed for reasons such as a poor driving record, failure to pay a legal judgment, medical reasons, or failure to comply with a Notice to Report.