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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

0-TOLRNC for Alberta drivers

Why not make Alberta’s new Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program universal?

If the program will make our streets safer and keep drunk drivers off the road, why not make the ignition interlock device mandatory in all vehicles registered in Alberta?

In case you don’t know what an ignition interlock device is, the Alberta government calls it “an alcohol-sensing device attached to a vehicle ignition system. When alcohol is detected the driver will not be able to start or drive the vehicle.”

As of July 1, drivers who have been convicted of drinking-and-driving with a blood alcohol level of double the legal limit or higher will be forced to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for at least six months. The program also applies to drivers who have had an impaired driving conviction in the last ten years and those drivers who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample during a roadside stop.

Guardian Interlock, the company that makes the device and collects and processes the breath sample data, says their device has already prevented 4,931,988 “intoxicated” drivers from accessing the roadways.

So, again, why not make the ignition interlock program mandatory for all Alberta drivers?

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 6, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink


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Yes, why not Matthew? Let us assume everyone guilty until proved innocent and indeed let us grant "big brother/sister" more power to control the unwashed population.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-08-06 2:55:08 PM

Have you considered the children, Alain. What about the children?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-06 4:35:04 PM

I think the reason the government does not do this is because it is the beginning of a slippery slope where we end up with half the population in prison and the other half as prison guards. And then who would pay the taxes needed to support this system? /sarcasm off.

Posted by: Tom | 2008-08-06 6:21:08 PM

We are in fact already under Admiralty Law when we are driving anyway. You are indeed guilty until you prove yourself innocent. The litmus test is as simple as a traffic ticket. Don't you have to go to court to prove you aren't guilty of whatever infraction you have been charged with? Yes you do, and that is the most basic of traffic law. It carries on that your vehicle may be searched or seized under any pretense and that innocence isn't necessaritly a feasable defense.
So...why not add some more legal control to an already wrong situation? Was that the question?
If so, I reject the very premise of the question.
How about some Justice for drunk drivers? Now there's a premise I can sink my teeth into. No More Control, its already gone too far.

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-06 6:31:53 PM

>"and those drivers who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample during a roadside stop."

Stand and deliver!

Police are little more than highwayman with badges.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-08-07 9:55:02 AM

Matthew, please do not confusing the issue by injecting "the children" as though to be opposed to this approach equates to not caring about real victims. The problem cannot be effectively addressed by assuming everyone guilty (which is the case with road side checks by the way), but by holding people responsible and accountable.

First of all it is ridiculous to assume that the same amount of alcohol affects everyone the same. I know people who can drink like a fish and still function just as well. On the other hand I am a cheap drunk in that my tolerance limit is much lower. But instead of a justice system dealing appropriately with those who cause death or accidents due to alcohol (or whatever), more times than not they get off with next to nothing. This was the situation before all the hysteria from MADD and continues to-day. Having had one of my grandmothers killed by a drunk driver driving on the wrong side of the road coming over a hill along with friends whose infant daughter is now a vegetable thanks to a drunk driver with a record no less and the wife of a Liberal MP, I know how our justice system is the problem. I know of another local case where they fellow is still driving around thanks to a smooth talking lawyer.

More infringement on our few remaining liberties is not the answer.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-08-07 12:21:35 PM

No, you're not guilty until proven innocent in traffic court, and you don't have to prove yourself innocent at trial. The presumption of innocence doesn't mean that you can't be accused of a crime or have evidence of your guilt given against you. It means that you can't be convicted until proven guilty. If you plead not guilty, you get a trial. At that trial the police have to give evidence proving you guilty. If they can't or won't do it, you go free without having to do anything.

Posted by: ebt | 2008-08-07 12:51:49 PM

So you're saying that if I get a speeding ticket I don't have to do anything? Just not pay it and wait for them to "prove" me guilty? Not so, I was guilty when I was given the ticket. I have to "prove" I'm innocent. Admiralty Law.

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-08 6:25:47 AM

You're out to lunch, JC. And you know nothing whatsoever about law, so please cut this "admiralty law" crap. Highway traffic is under provincial jurisdiction; admiralty law is exclusively federal.

And yes, what you just repeated is exactly what I told you, and I told you that for the sole reason that it happens to be so. If you get a speeding ticket, plead not guilty. Show up for your trial. If the police decide not to show up and convict you, you walk. You don't have to present a case or prove anything. Now, a properly run police force will ensure that each officer who goes on traffic detail will be on courtroom detail when the tickets he writes come up for trial. But not every police force can get their act together to do that; not every cop can be arsed to go and claim his conviction; and when you least expect it, there's a plane crash or a blizzard or the Martians land on your trial date, and they have no choice but to pull every cop into street duty.

Now, I'm prepared to assume that you're guilty as hell, and so if the police do show up and give evidence against you, you will have no defence to put in. And in some provinces, the cop can swear an affidavit which the Crown can place before the court without the cop showing up. But it still has to go to trial before you're guilty. And if you actually weren't speeding, there are defences that can be raised, and I've seen circumstances where they can be raised by cross-examining the cop without the need to put in a case or prove anything. In any event, I've seen cases where you can take, for example, renew your insurance or your cab license before your trial comes up, on the basis of your unconvicted record, so it's usually worth it to plead not guilty.

What you have to do is plead not guilty and then show up for trial. Plead guilty and you are guilty; fail to show up and you're deemed to plead guilty. But you are not regarded as guilty when you get the ticket; you are merely regarded as charged. The fact that they can prove you guilty only matters when they actually do so.

Posted by: ebt | 2008-08-08 2:05:55 PM

ebt/JC: You are both right and wrong.

Some laws are reverse onus, meaning you have to prove your innocence. Drive without insurance, for one. There are others.

Also CC 253(a) impaired is a pattern of bad driving due to intoxication.

CC 253(b) forces the accused to provide evidence against himslef, by blowing, or he is charged with a 254 Refusal. So, in that case, you don't have to prove yourself innocent, but you do have to help the state prove you guilty. It wouldn't exist in a free society.

Posted by: Sarcasm | 2008-08-08 2:21:50 PM

Almost forgot Speller: You are right. But, build a big government and you get a predatory state.

Posted by: Sarcasm | 2008-08-08 2:23:17 PM

Sarcasm, thank you for helping illuminate and enlighten the blind.

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-10 11:20:57 AM

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