27TH ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE 13 Congratulations once again to the PEI Police Association for continuing their good work in the community in producing their 27th annual crime prevention guide. The theme selected for this year’s guide is ‘Driving Under the Influence’ which is a very timely topic in discussing this issue with the public. Unfortunately this criminal offence remains at the top of our list for police agencies in Prince Edward Island. Under Canadian law, peace officers can compel anyone they suspect of operating a motor vehicle while impaired within the previous three hours to provide a breath sample to detect the driver's BAC. You can even be approached if a vehicle is not operating but is "in your care," meaning that you are sitting in the driver's seat even if the car is not running. In Prince Edward Island, police officers can issue administrative license suspensions on drivers with a BAC above 0.05. An administrative action is not a criminal charge and does not go on your criminal record however, violations of suspensions can lead to criminal charges. There is never a reason to refuse a BAC test because refusal always results in the same consequences as driving while impaired. In an effort to curtail drunk driving, judges in PEI have been assigning strict penalties for violations, including jail time for first offenders. Upon conviction of driving with a BAC greater than 0.08, offenders face the following jail sentences along with stiff fines: • First offense: one year license suspension, minimum 3 days imprisonment, $1200 fine, mandatory Driver Rehabilitation Course, one year enrollment in ignition interlock program • Second offense: three year license suspension, minimum 30 days imprisonment, enrollment in ignition interlock program • Third or greater offense: five year license suspension, minimum 90 day imprisonment, enrollment in ignition interlock program If you are apprehended for impaired driving and your actions have caused bodily harm to others, you can face substantially stiffer consequences. Drivers who have been convicted of driving while impaired must complete the Driver Rehabilitation Course to have their license reinstated. The course consists of two three-hour sessions in which participants learn about the risks of drinking and driving. Courses are held in Montague, Summerside and Charlottetown and offenders are expected to pay for the program fee upfront. In closing I believe in ‘mass media’ campaigns which spread messages about the physical dangers and legal consequences of drunk driving. They persuade people not to drink and drive and encourage them to keep other drivers from doing so. Campaigns are most effective when supporting other impaired driving prevention strategies. J. David Poirier Chief of Police Summerside Police Services MESSAGE FROM SUMMERSIDE CHIEF OF POLICE