Changes to impaired driving laws

Alberta’s impaired driving laws are changing effective December 1, 2020. A new Roadside Sanction 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.

Additional resources:

Overview

An ignition interlock device is an in-vehicle alcohol breath-sensing device that measures the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of the driver. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a BAC over a pre-set limit. It is located inside the vehicle, near the driver's seat, and is connected to the engine's ignition system.

For more information, please refer to the Ignition Interlock Program Participant Guide.

How it works

The ignition interlock device must be used by anyone who operates the vehicle. Training is provided by the service provider upon installation and by request, during the program.

Before you start your vehicle, you will need to blow into the device to provide a breath sample. If your BAC is over the pre-set limit, your vehicle won't start.

Once your vehicle is started, the ignition interlock device will ask you to provide breath samples at both random and pre-set times while the engine is running. If you do not provide a sample, or if your BAC exceeds the limit, the device will issue a warning, record the event and activate specific alarm systems (for example, lights flashing, horn honking) until you turn off the ignition.

You do not have to be the registered owner of a vehicle to have the ignition interlock device installed. You can rent or borrow a motor vehicle to complete the Ignition Interlock Program participation term.

An ignition interlock device may be installed in a company vehicle as long as the registered owner provides written authorization and has proof of insurance. For the Mandatory Interlock Program, any ‘warns’ or ‘fails’ registered on the ignition interlock device, regardless of who is operating the motor vehicle, will be the responsibility of the Ignition Interlock Program participant. This may also result in the participant’s Ignition Interlock Program term being extended.

Inspections

You must bring the vehicle to the installer for an inspection 30 days after the initial installation, followed by additional inspections at least once every 60 days, or as designated by Alberta Transportation.

The installer will inspect the equipment and transfer the recorded information to Driver Fitness and Monitoring for review.

Penalties

If you:

  • attempt to tamper, cheat or bypass the ignition interlock device
  • have your driver’s licence suspended or cancelled
  • are subject to any additional Traffic Safety Act suspension or convicted of any additional driving-related Criminal Code (Canada)

you may receive a combination of any of the following:

  • warning letter
  • participation term extension
  • referral for a review by the Registrar Reconsideration process or medical review
  • be immediately removed from the Ignition Interlock Program
  • have your restricted driver's licence revoked and Ignition Interlock Program participation terminated until all reinstatement conditions have been completed

You are expected to receive zero ‘warns’ and ‘fails’ while participating in the program.

A participant in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program term may be extended if you:

  • receive a ‘fail’ recording with a BAC level of 0.040 or higher
  • receive a ‘warn’ recording with a BAC level of 0.020 to 0.039
  • do not provide a ‘pass’ breath sample within 10 minutes of a ‘warn’ or ‘fail’
  • have any breaches and/or violations

You can file a review or an appeal of an Ignition Interlock Program-related decision to:

  • if the decision letter you have received is dated on or before November 30, 2020, please apply to the Alberta Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) by purchasing an application form (form number REG1066) from any Alberta registry agent.
  • if the decision letter you have received is dated on or after December 1, 2020, please apply through the Registrar Reconsideration process by completing an online application.

    It is important to note that the only applications eligible for reconsideration are those that are able to provide the following:

  • Indication of error made by Alberta Transportation on the original decision, or
  • New information that was not available to/considered by Alberta Transportation in the original decision

Further to the Traffic Safety Act, a request for a review or an appeal of the decision must be made within 30 calendar days from the date you received the decision letter.

Failure to obtain and/or maintain a restricted driver's licence may result in:

  • being charged with driving while disqualified and vehicle seizure by law enforcement
  • not receiving credit towards your term in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program
  • removal from the Ignition Interlock Program

Contact

Connect with Driver Fitness and Monitoring:

Driver fitness monitoring contact form

Phone: 780-427-8230
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)

Hours: 8:15 am to 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

To connect with the Registrar Reconsideration process:

You must complete an online application.

If you have any further questions regarding the Registrar Reconsideration process, please visit the Registrar Reconsideration website.

To connect with the Alberta Transportation Safety Board:

Hours: 8:15 am to 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

North office (if you live north of Red Deer)

Phone: 780-427-7178 (extension 6)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-422-9739

Address:

Alberta Transportation Safety Board
Main Floor, Twin Atria Building
4999 98 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2X3

South office (Red Deer and south)

Phone: 403-297-3466 (extension 6)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 403-297-4139

Address:

Alberta Transportation Safety Board
Suite 302 Willow Park Centre
10325 Bonaventure Drive Southeast
Calgary, Alberta T2J 7E4

Ignition interlock installation

For information on ignition interlock device installation:

Website: Smart Start Canada
Toll free: 1-844-432-4776 (in Alberta)