2,000 petitions and counting: Albertans oppose .05 BAC legislation

EDMONTON, Nov. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - As of this morning, 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 that Bill 26, the province's new drinking and driving legislation, targets the wrong people. The petitions have also been sent to Premier Redford and Transportation Minister Danyluk.

"CRFA fully supports tougher penalties for drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .08, as well as graduated licensing," says Garth Whyte, CRFA's President and CEO. "What we don't support are the stricter penalties for drivers with a BAC from .05 - .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. When stricter laws were introduced in B.C., a CRFA survey found sales at licensed restaurants and bars fell 21 per cent and jobs were lost.

"We need solutions that get drunk drivers off the roads without harassing the average Albertan," says 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.

CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Alberta's $8.4-billion restaurant industry employs more than 125,000 people in communities across the province.

SOURCE Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

For further information:

Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca.

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