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Time to nab drunk driver: 18 minutes

Jun 16 2012

It took traffic police 18 minutes to nab someone under the tougher drinking and driving laws that were reinstated Friday at midnight.

Officers with the Integrated Road Safety Unit were at a roadblock near the Johnson Street Bridge when Const. Mike KleinBeekman pulled over a driver who blew a fail, with a blood alcohol level over .08.

The driver will face a three-month driving ban, have his car impounded for 30 days, and have to pay for an ignition interlock device to be installed in his car for a year.

Three other drivers blew a "warn" and face a three-day driving ban.

The drinking and driving laws, dubbed the toughest in Canada, were first introduced in September 2010. They were temporarily repealed after a Nov. 30 court ruling found there were inadequate appeal mechanisms to fight the harsher penalties.

Drivers caught behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher face an automatic three-month driving ban, roughly $5,000 in penalties, towing and stowage fees, and other costs.

Police still have the discretion of proceeding with criminal impaired charges through the courts if a driver crashes or injures someone.

The government added new provisions to strengthen accused impaired drivers' right to challenge roadside screening tests and the ability to appeal an immediate roadside prohibition.

Police officers are now required to inform drivers of their right to challenge the first roadside screening test by asking for a second test on a different machine.

The lower of the two readings will prevail. Under the old legislation, the second test prevailed whether it was higher or lower.

An accused driver can also ask for an appeal and seek a review through the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

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