Alberta's stricter drinking and driving laws target the wrong people

EDMONTON, Nov. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Parts of Alberta's Bill 26, the Alberta Traffic Safety Amendment Act, introduced today by Transportation Minister Ray Danyluk, will create confusion and ultimately target the wrong people. The impact of this approach will be felt by the restaurant industry, based on the experience in British Columbia, where similar laws were introduced last year.

"Introducing tougher administrative penalties for drivers whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is between .05 and .08, as was done in British Columbia, will unintentionally hurt both the hospitality industry and responsible Albertans," says Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President Western Canada for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). "In B.C., these new penalties led to a 21 per cent drop in restaurant sales, and lost jobs."

CRFA is urging government to focus on impaired drivers who are over the legal limit and responsible for 86 per cent of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities - not ordinary Albertans who are not legally impaired and pose no real driving safety risk. Alberta accident statistics confirm that two-thirds of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities result from impaired drivers at twice the legal .08 BAC limit, and those who repeatedly drive while legally impaired.

"We share the government's goal of getting drunk drivers off Alberta roads," says Garth Whyte, CRFA's CEO and President. "The proposals brought forward by government must appropriately target drunk drivers, not intimidate ordinary Albertans and cost hospitality industry jobs."

CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada's $63-billion foodservice industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

SOURCE Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

For further information:

Mark von Schellwitz, 604-809-5719 or mark@crfa.ca; Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca.

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Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

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