I don't know how they can contemplate impounding your vehicle when you're not over the legal limit, that just sounds nuts to me. Looks like those goofballs at MADD are one step closer to their prohibition dreams through their lobbying.
At least no mention of an RD ban, which I know was in a recent report prepared for the dept of highways & transportation..
Odd that these input recommendation groups never included any real regular drivers, just special interest groups.
Alberta driving road reforms
Testing elderly, highway photo radar on tap
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Mandatory testing of elderly drivers, photo radar on provincial highways, and new rules to curb drinking and driving are all part of major traffic safety reforms being considered by the Alberta government, the Herald has learned.
The initiative, prepared under the departments of Solicitor General, Justice and Transportation, suggests police be allowed to institute automatic 24-hour roadside suspensions for anyone with a .05 blood-alcohol level.
The legal level is .08 under Canada's Criminal Code, but police have discretion to issue suspensions for blood-alcohol levels lower than that. Provincial law pegging the acceptable blood-alcohol level to .05 would broaden that discretion.
The new proposals are being prepared for public consultation, with legislative changes expected within six months.
Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Lyle Oberg said he expects some fireworks.
"It's highly controversial," said Oberg. "All of these things have got to be looked at in the context of what they mean to the public, and that's what we need to do."
One proposal calls for an annual "clinical evaluation" of drivers over 75. Another would see photo radar set up at red lights, to catch motorists who speed up to beat the yellow. The province now bans the use of unmanned photo radar.
Red light cameras are able to catch speeders, but that function has yet to be deployed. Oberg stressed the proposals weren't government policy and needed to be vetted by the public.
They were crafted from input from dozens of stakeholder groups, including the Alberta Motor Association, regional health associations, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, AADAC, the school bus association, police services provincewide and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
"It's wonderful if stakeholders simply say: 'Do it,' but in government we do have to talk to the public," said Oberg.
The minister said he wasn't necessarily sold on the most controversial proposals, including the mandatory clinical evaluations for all drivers over 75.
"In all fairness, it's very hard to define a 75-year-old person as a 75-year-old person," he said.
"There are some who are 75 who look like they're 50.
"It tends to be the condition of the driver, as opposed to the actual age of the driver."
Mandatory testing of drivers 75 and older is not supported by the Alberta Motor Association.
The provincial body is "not interested or calling for any sort of mandatory testing -- clinical testing or driving testing -- for any driver of any age, at this point," said AMA spokesman, Don Szarko. "Let alone drivers over 75."
However, the proposal is supported by the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.
Chairman Luigi Soprani said while some drivers over 75 are fully capable of driving safely, others are a "public danger."
"There should be, beyond a certain age, some kind of testing once a year," he said.
The minister said he was personally opposed to increased use of photo radar on highways, as is Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko.
"The public perception is it's a cash cow," said Cenaiko. "You have to ask the question: 'Does this actually educate people?' I don't think it does. Officer-offender contact is the way to educate people."
But Don McDermid, retired head of the Alberta RCMP, said there are some circumstances where photo radar could be used.
"In some cases where officer safety is a concern," said McDermid.
That could include situations involving two-lane highways, where police officers are vulnerable when they pull motorists over on the side of the road.
Rob Gregory, a former police officer and owner of Gregory Ticket Office said he's not surprised to see talk of increased use of photo radar.
"The concern was always officer safety -- that was one of the big selling points," Gregory said.
"It wasn't long before we started seeing it in 50 kilometre zones and now it's become more of an urban tool, although many see it as a cash cow."
Gregory, who helps drivers fight their tickets, argues photo radar does not force drivers to slow down.
"If a person gets a traffic ticket through a photo radar, the only deterrent is the dollar value because there's no demerit points and no insurance repercussions," he said. "Obviously we're going to have enforcement, but we want it to be made as fair as possible. If radar is set at slow speeds it certainly gives the public (the impression) it's not about safety, but revenue generation.
"If (you) want deterrence, get people's licences involved," he said.
With files from Sarah Chapman and Deborah Tetley
© The Calgary Herald 2006