Province Steps Up Tough Stance on Drinking and Driving

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

September 16, 2008 1:41 PM

Nova Scotia's roads and communities will be safer thanks to a new program designed to reduce drinking and driving. The province unveiled its Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program today, Sept. 16, in Truro.

The program, which will come into effect Tuesday, Sept. 30, is for people who have lost their driver's licence because of an alcohol-related offence conviction or have an alcohol-related incident on their driving record.

For many in this category, entering the program will be the only way to regain driving privileges.

"The Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program will be put in place to keep our roads safer by reducing the number of people who drink and drive," said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Jamie Muir. "This is a proven technology that is helping to reduce drinking and driving in other parts of Canada and around the world."

An ignition interlock device is installed in vehicles of people in the program. As well, they must participate in Addiction Services.

Like other provinces across Canada, Nova Scotia's program will operate on a user-pay system. The program will cost clients an estimated $1,700 to $2,000 for the first year to have the device installed and maintained.

"This program is a critical addition to the province's legislative, enforcement and awareness initiatives to improve road safety," said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Murray Scott. "Today is an important day in the fight against impaired driving."

The ignition interlock is a small, hand-held breath-testing device fitted to a vehicle's ignition. Before starting the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device. If the driver's blood-alcohol level is above a pre-set limit, the car will not start.

The device allows law enforcement and provincial officials to better monitor impaired driving behaviours.

"It is an added tool for police in helping to control impaired driving in our province," said Bob Purcell, executive director of Public Safety. "Nova Scotians expect, and deserve, safe highways and streets. This program sends a further message to those in our province that drinking and driving will not be tolerated."

Under this program, anyone convicted of an alcohol-related offence is required to take an education program and assessment with Addiction Services. Based on the assessment, Addiction Services will recommend to the Registry of Motor Vehicles whether the person should be accepted into the program. Once accepted, the person is required to attend regular sessions with Addiction Services.

"I am proud to say that our program is the first in Canada to include a mandatory addictions counseling component," said Everett Harris, director of Addiction Services for the Cape Breton District Health Authority. "That addition is drawing world-wide attention in our field."

The province's Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program is supported by MADD Canada. MADD has pushed for mandatory ignition interlock programs across Canada and approves of Nova Scotia's program.

"MADD Canada is very pleased to see this program come into effect in Nova Scotia," said Margaret Miller, president of MADD Canada. "It will save lives by ensuring the impaired driver is separated from their vehicle."

The Alcohol Ignition Interlock Handbook, which provides full program details, is available at www.interlock.gov.ns.ca .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Nova Scotia's roads and communities will be safer thanks to

a new program designed to reduce drinking and driving. The

province unveiled its Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program today

(September 16) in Truro.

     The program, which will become effective Tuesday, September

30, is for people who have lost their driver's licence because of

an alcohol-related offence conviction or have an alcohol-related

incident on their driving record.

     Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Jamie

Muir says the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program will keep our

roads safer by reducing the number of people who drink and drive.

     An ignition interlock device is installed in the vehicles of

people in the program. They must also participate in Addiction

Services.

     The Alcohol Ignition Interlock Handbook, which provides full

program details, is available at w-w-w dot interlock dot gov dot

n-s dot c-a .

-30-

Media Contacts: Julie Lawrence
                Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
                902-722-1461
                Cell: 902-403-0645
                E-mail: lawrenjk@gov.ns.ca

                Lindsay Mills
                Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
                902-424-3289
                Cell: 902-449-1775
                E-mail: millsle@gov.ns.ca

                Brett Loney
                Health Promotion and Protection
                902-424-6527
                Cell: 902-497-0269
                E-mail: loneybm@gov.ns.ca

                Carla Grant
                Department of Justice
                902-424-6282
                Cell: 902-478-1683
                E-mail: grantc@gov.ns.ca