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Trans Canada Highway Closure

UPDATE

The TC Highway Westbound lanes are now clear and open.  Thank you for your patience! 

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There is currently a Semi-Trailer blocking the westbound lanes of the Trans Canada Highway at 16th Street SW. Expect delays as Westbound traffic is currently unable to proceed.  Any updates will be provided as soon as possible.  

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New Impaired Driving Legislation –Bill 21

On December 1, 2020, new impaired driving legislation will come into force in Alberta. Bill 21, the Provincial Administrative Penalties Act, will change how impaired drivers are penalized with new immediate roadside penalties and also change the process of traffic ticket disputes. The goal of the new legislation is to simplify existing impaired driving programs and strengthen impaired driving laws in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities, making Alberta roads safer. The new process will also free up court and police resources and as a result allow them to focus on the most serious offences.

Key changes of Bill 21 involve the introduction of new Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) with serious, immediate and escalating consequences for impaired drivers, including:

  • new fines up to $2,000
  • increased length of vehicle seizure up to 30 days for certain offences
  • new mandatory education programs for repeat offenders
  • increased driver’s licence suspensions for repeat offenders
  • expanded mandatory ignition interlock for repeat offenders
  • enshrine into law that commercial drivers must have zero blood alcohol and drug concentrations on the job

Many first time offenders will be able to deal with these penalties through a new online traffic dispute system, which will ensure a fast, fair method of resolving disputes in 30 days or less. The most serious cases, including repeat offences and impaired driving causing harm, will receive the same roadside penalties and be prosecuted in court.

The province has streamlined existing impaired driving sanctions under a single banner. The new names are:

  • IRS: 24 Hour
  • IRS ZERO: Novice (formerly AZADT)
  • IRS ZERO: Commercial (new)
  • IRS: WARN (Formerly IRS)
  • IRS: FAIL (formerly AALS)
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Alberta has also greatly enhanced these sanctions by incorporating a full spectrum of proven deterrents and consequences and by adopting an escalating approach to penalties for repeat offenders. Impaired drivers will receive immediate and significant penalties at roadside that include: escalating driver’s licence suspensions, fines, vehicle seizure lengths, mandatory education programs and an expanded ignition interlock program.

A new administrative penalty for commercial drivers has also been introduced, IRS ZERO: Commercial. IRS ZERO: Commercial takes a zero tolerance approach to drugs and alcohol for commercial drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle in a commercial capacity.

This applies to any driver who is operating a commercial vehicle, or combination of commercial vehicles, that has a registered gross vehicle weight exceeding 11,794 kg, or a commercial vehicle that has a manufacturer’s seating capacity originally designed for 11 or more passengers, including the driver.

Commercial vehicles are not being seized as part of the penalties associated with the IRS ZERO: Commercial. However, if a commercial driver is operating a commercial vehicle and they are issued an IRS: WARN or an IRS: FAIL; the cargo (if applicable) must be picked up the trucking company and the vehicle would be seized.

New Penalties for the five new IRS sanctions.

IRS: 24-Hour

  • 24 hour driver’s licence suspension
  • Vehicle may be seized for 24 hours

IRS ZERO: Novice (formerly AZADT). Any alcohol detected roadside on an approved screening device will result in:

  • 30 Day License Suspension
  • 7 Day Vehicle Seizure
  • $200 fine
  • Drivers must remain suspension free for one year from the end date of the suspension; if not, the one year starts over

IRS Zero: Commercial

Commercial Drivers where any alcohol is detected on a roadside screening device will receive:

1st time

  • 3 Day Drivers License Suspension
  • $300 fine

2nd time

  • 15 day drivers license Suspension
  • $600 fine

3rd time

  • 30 day drivers license suspension
  • $1,200 fine

IRS: WARN (Formerly IRS) on a roadside device:

1st time

  • 3 Day Drivers License Suspension
  • Vehicle Seized for 3 days
  • $300 fine

2nd time

  • 15 day drivers license Suspension
  • Vehicle Seized for 7 days
  • $600 fine
  • Driver must take Crossroads Course

3rd time

  • 30 day drivers license suspension
  • Vehicle Seized for 7 days
  • $1,200 fine
  • Must complete 2 day Impact Course

IRS: FAIL on a roadside device, is impaired or refuse to blow.

Officers now have the discretion not to proceed with Criminal Code charges unless there are aggravating circumstances, such as a collision causing injury or death, children in the vehicle, a high degree of disregard for public safety, a recent impaired charge.

1st offence

  • 90 day suspension of drivers license
  • After the 90 days driver is restricted to vehicle with an ignition interlock for 1 year.
  • Driver remains suspended for 1 year if they do not participate in the interlock program.
  • Vehicle Seized for 30 days(used to be 3 days)
  • $1,000 fine
  • Must take the Planning Ahead Course

2nd offence

  • Criminal Code Charges
  • 90 day suspension of drivers license
  • After the 90 days driver is restricted a vehicle with ignition interlock for 3 years.
  • Driver remains suspended for 3 years if they do not participate in interlock program
  • Vehicle Seized for 30 days
  • $2,000 fine

3rd offence

  • Criminal Code Charges
  • 90 day suspension of drivers license
  • After the 90 days driver restricted to vehicle ignition interlock for Life. (10 year faint hope clause, must be incident free for 10 years and can apply to have the restriction removed)
  • Vehicle Seized for 30 days
  • $2,000 fine

All drivers in all circumstances have the right to a second test on a different device. Police will accept the lower of the two results. Drivers can appeal their suspension and view the evidence against them within 7 days of the suspension being issued. There is a QR code on the suspension form that will take the driver to where they can view the evidence and decide if they want to appeal.

If they appeal, they will have an appeal hearing with an adjudicator over the phone or through video call within 21 days. After that meeting a decision will be made in writing within 30 days. A judicial review may also take place after the decision is rendered.

There is also a new Traffic Safety Act, offence for driving while suspended as a result of an alcohol related suspension which will result in a fine of $5,000 and a 6 month suspension for the first offense and mandatory jail time and increasing driving suspensions for the second and third offences.

For more information on Bill 21 visit https://www.alberta.ca/making-alberta-roads-safer.aspx

Media Contact:
Sgt. Gerald Sadlemyer
Traffic Unit
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8471

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Aggressive Moose

The Medicine Hat Police Service is warning pet owners of an aggressive Moose in the area of Cannaught Drive SW.   The cow Moose is wintering in the coulee's in the area and has acted aggresively towards a dog being walked in the area.   Police are asking dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash when in this area and to make noise especially if walking at night.   A Moose will defend itself against dogs and other animals often resulting in very serious injuries to the pet.   Thank you. 

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Male Charged with B&E

In the early morning hours of November 18, 2020, members of the Medicine Hat Police Service were called to a break and enter in progress in the 100 block of 1 Street NE. A male had entered a locked apartment complex and was attempting to steal property from tenant storage lockers.

The suspect was observed on surveillance video and confronted by the building manger. The male fled the area on foot and was apprehended several blocks away by police.

Resulting from this investigation, a 41-year-old male was arrested and charged with Break Enter and Theft.

Media Contact:

S/Sgt Ryan Thorburn
Patrol Section
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8461

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Wide Load Escort 10 Ave SW Highway #1 Westbound

There will be a wide load escort today from 9:00 am to approx. 10:30 am.  The load will start from 10 Ave SW to the Trans Canada Highway west through Redcliff.  There will be counter flow traffic.  Please expect minor delays.  

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UPDATE - Altawana Drive NE now open

Altawana Drive NE is now open. Thank you.

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Road Closure (northbound) Altawana Drive NE

The Medicine Hat Police would like to ask that motorists avoid Altawana Drive NE, specifically the northbound lane, as there is a large semi truck that is unable to negotiate the slippery roadway. Stay tuned for updates.

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Female in Distress

On the morning of November 12, 2020 members of the Medicine Hat Police Service attended to the westbound lane of the Trans-Canada Highway Bridge for a report of a female in distress. The highway was closed for a short time while officers negotiated with the woman. After some time she was safely removed from the bridge, apprehended under the Mental Health Act, and transported to the hospital for treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling, there are several local agencies available to provide mental supports including:

 

Alberta Mental Health Help Line - 1-877-303-2642

The Mental Health Help Line offers 24 hour, 7 day a week confidential service that provides support, information and referrals to Albertans experiencing mental health concern. The line is staffed by a multidisciplinary team comprised of nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, and psychologists.

 

Canadian Mental Health Association - 403-504-1811

of 9-1-1 in an emergency

Media Contact:

S/Sgt Jason Graham
Patrol Section
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8461

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UPATE - Trans Canada Bridge

UPDATE - The Trans Canada Bridge is now open. Thank you for your patience. Additional information to follow.

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Trans Canada Bridge Westbound Closed

Serious Police Incident - The Medicine Hat Police are asking motorists to avoid the westbound lane of the Trans Canada Bridge as police are currently dealing with a serious police incident. More information to follow.

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