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Decrease in the d’ blood alcohol level at 0.05, the debate is relaunched.

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The blood alcohol limit is 0.08% in Quebec.

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Quebec is the only province in Canada not to impose administrative sanctions as soon as the blood alcohol level reaches 0.05% in the blood. Seven years after the death of their daughter in a road accident involving alcohol and speed, Elizabeth Rivera and Antoine Bittar are campaigning to lower this limit.

Their daughter, Jessica Sarli-Rivera, lost her life on March 20, 2017. It will be seven years this year. But the pain is still there, declared Elizabeth Rivera, president of the Board of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Montreal), in an interview with Radio-Canada.

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Elizabeth Rivera and Antoine Bittar continue to campaign to lower the blood alcohol level to 0.05.

Kim Brière-Charest is director of psychoactive substances projects at the Association for Public Health of Quebec. Studies and experiences in other Canadian provinces have shown that there is a significant reduction in deaths, serious injuries and damage linked to drunk driving when measures are introduced [… ] before getting to a criminal record, she says.

Data from British Columbia also showed that& #x27;after two years of introducing measures at the 0.05 level, there was a 52% reduction in deaths linked to drunk driving, explained Ms. Brière-Charest.

Getting stopped at 0.05, at 0.06, they'll start to understand roughly where they are. And the fact that it is not the Criminal Code means that they will not have a criminal record if they are arrested. It's like a traffic ticket, says Antoine Bittar. [From] 0.05, you lose 40% of your driving abilities.

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These administrative sanctions could act as a signal that warns people that' between 0.05 and 0.08, the risk of having a fatal collision increases more than four times tenfold, adds Ms. Brière-Charest.

The Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault, affirmed that imposing administrative sanctions of 0.05% was still not part of her road safety plan. The goal is to save lives. With the 27 measures […] we improve so many things on so many fronts.

Marc Bellemare, lawyer representing accident victims, says he is disappointed with his position. What we want is to improve the road safety record and I think that the minister's first concern should be that.

Despite everything, the cabinet considers that the regulations in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada are more severe on several measures surrounding alcohol and drugs while driving. Among these measures, the cabinet mentions the alcohol ignition interlock for life from the second conviction, zero alcohol tolerance for new and young drivers as well as the “most supportive and longest” awareness and rehabilitation program. /p>

However, for Antoine Bittar, these measures are not sufficient. It's a lot of action [that is taken] after the fact.

According to Marc Bellemare, Quebec is more tolerant towards traffic criminals. We give them access to the automobile insurance service, we protect them from all civil lawsuits. So I don't think we have a stricter or less strict regime in Quebec. I think we have a regime that is more advantageous for traffic criminals in Quebec. Elsewhere in Canada, compensation is either zero or reduced when driving under the influence of alcohol, he explains.

The Association Restauration Québec opposes all administrative sanctions at a blood alcohol content of 0.05%.

Martin Vézina, vice-president of public and government affairs at the Association, fears that these new sanctions will have harmful consequences on the restaurant industry, including reduction in service and sales, during an already economically difficult period.

We will no longer be able to sell a bottle of wine for a couple because they will exceed this limit [or] a cocktail to a woman, he says.

In restaurants, owners make a significant proportion of their profits from the sale of alcohol. This business model allows restaurateurs to offer their customers more attractive prices for the rest of the dishes. This measure would therefore also have unfavorable consequences for consumers.

For regional restaurateurs, the stakes are even greater, according to Mr. Vézina. In Montreal, there is public transportation and a high-volume taxi system, but this is not the case everywhere in the region […] We will sell much less alcohol and that will have a significant impact on our sales.

He proposes to focus on enforcement measures for the 0.08 laws and on police roadblocks to reinforce respect laws in place.

Their financial interests are totally contrary to improving the road record, I understand them, it's normal, it's their work, adds Me Bellemare.

With information from Gabrielle Proulx

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