The Manitoba government is proposing amendments to the Highway Traffic Act that would ensure individuals who have been charged with impaired driving and have not complied with the ignition interlock requirement are prevented from appealing the suspension of their driver’s licence.

“Public safety is our government’s main priority and that is why we are protecting Manitobans by closing the loophole that would allow impaired drivers to delay the installation of ignition interlock devices,” says Justice Minister Matt Wiebe, minister responsible for the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation (MPI). “Anyone who agrees to participate in the new Alternative Measures program needs to be aware that this is not an ‘easy out’. They will be subject to the same one-year ignition interlock requirements as someone who was convicted.”

The new Alternative Measures program would allow a person who has been charged with impaired driving to enter into an agreement with the Crown to participate in a rigorous impaired driving awareness and education program rather than being prosecuted in court.

Once completed, the driver is required to participate in the ignition interlock program, the minister notes.

“For too long impaired drivers have circumvented the rule of law,” says Trevor Ens, president, MADD Winnipeg. “They put their indecent and selfish choice to drive while under the influence above the safety of everyone else on the road. MADD Winnipeg applauds the choice of the Manitoba government to close these loopholes and hold those individuals accountable for their violent crimes.”

MPI would inform individuals in the new Alternative Measures program of their responsibility to install an ignition-interlock device in their vehicle.

If they do not comply, MPI would have the ability to suspend their licence, says the minister, adding that under current legislation such a suspension would carry a right to appeal to the Licence Suspension Appeal Board.

The proposed amendment would prohibit these individuals from appealing this suspension.