News Release Archive

Alcohol-related convictions have decreased by 21 per cent during
the first year of an immediate suspension program administered by
the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The Administrative License Suspension Program, introduced June 1,
1995, is part of an overall strategy by the Department of
Business and Consumer Services and the Government of Nova Scotia
to deter drinking and driving.

"Our goal is to make our highways safer and reducing the number
of intoxicated drivers helps us do that," said Business and
Consumer Services Minister Sandy Jolly. "The possibility of
losing their driver's license immediately makes people stop and
think rather than drink and drive."

The program provides for an immediate three month suspension of
driving privileges for failing the breathalyser or refusing to
give a breath sample. Other efforts to reduce drinking and
driving have included mandatory alcohol rehabilitation programs
for both first and repeat offenders as well as substantial
increases in both fines and fees. These initiatives are all part
of a cooperative federal-provincial strategy to reduce impaired
driving campaign.

During the first year of the program, 2,208 drivers had their
licenses suspended. More than three-quarters of these drivers had
a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.08 per cent.

An examination of driver profiles indicates that 90 per cent of
those suspended were male and 30 per cent were between the ages
of 25 and 34. The age of the drivers ranged from 16 to 82.
One-third of the suspended drivers had previous alcohol-related
convictions. Halifax-area drivers accounted for 37 per cent of
the suspensions and were caught during routine police checks.
Saturday night, between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., was the most popular
time frame for suspending drivers under the program.

Decreases in alcohol-related accidents, 10 per cent, and fatal
accidents involving alcohol, 18 per cent, are further indications
that the program is working.

Nova Scotia is only the second province in Canada to implement an
immediate suspension program. Manitoba has seen a 40 per cent
reduction in alcohol-related convictions since it introduced its
program in 1989. Ontario and British Columbia are both
introducing similar programs this year and Quebec is also
expected to follow suit.


Contact: Chris Welner  902-424-7787

         Bill Walsh    902-424-4256

trp                     Sept. 16, 1996 - 3:15 p.m.