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More than 2,000 petitions against new BAC laws: CRFA


November 29, 2011
By Canadian Pizza

November 29, 2011, Edmonton – The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) has received more than 2,000 petitions from Alberta business owners, their employees and customers who are concerned about the province’s new drinking and driving legislation.

The petitions against Bill 26 have also been sent to Premier Alison Redford and Transportation Minister Ray Danyluk.

“CRFA fully supports tougher penalties for drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .08, as well as graduated licensing,” said Garth Whyte, CRFA’s president and CEO. “What we don’t support are the stricter penalties for drivers with a BAC from .05 to .08. This piece of the legislation affects responsible drivers who are not legally impaired, and is unnecessarily confusing and intimidating to ordinary Albertans.”

CRFA members are concerned the tougher penalties for drivers with a BAC between .05 and .08 will unintentionally hurt the restaurant industry and responsible Albertans, as is the case in British Columbia.

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A CRFA survey found sales at B.C.'s licensed restaurants and bars fell 21 per cent and jobs were lost when stricter drinking and driving laws were introduced there last year.

“We need solutions that get drunk drivers off the roads without harassing the average Albertan,” said Whyte. “If the petitions flooding our office are any indication, this is what Albertans want too. Government should focus its resources on those drivers who are well over the legal limit and cause most alcohol-related accidents, instead of going after law-abiding citizens who drink responsibly.”

Alberta accident statistics show that impaired drivers who are over the legal limit of .08 BAC are responsible for 86 per cent of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities. Two-thirds of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities are caused by impaired drivers at twice the legal .08 BAC limit, and those who repeatedly drive while legally impaired.