Starting today (December 1, 2020) local law enforcement will administer stricter impaired driving penalties across the province as Bill 21 goes into effect.

Impaired drivers could face fines as high as $2,000, have their licence suspended for a 15 month period as well as a 30-day vehicle seizure.

Corporal Troy Savinkoff with the Cochrane RCMP says that the subject of impaired driving is one that continues to fire him up. He says it is the number one cause of senseless deaths across the Country.

"Impaired driving obviously is the number one leading cause of criminal death in Canada, It has been for many, many years and it continues to be," says Savinkoff. "It's a very serious problem. It's one that millions and millions of dollars has been invested in to educate the public, telling them that if you drink and drive you will hurt somebody and yet it still continues."

Some other initiatives put in place by the province are  'zero-tolerance consequences' for novice and commercial drivers, and repeat offenders will have an ignition interlock placed on their vehicle and will take part in mandatory education programs.

Savinkoff says that the new "SafeRoads Alberta" program will allow officers to get impaired drivers off the road much quicker.

"It allows our officers to put sanctions on drivers that we catch and allows us to prosecute and take impaired drivers off the road in a much more quick fashion," says Savinkoff. "That's really going to assist our officers in our efforts to enforce impaired driving."

Savinkoff says that there is typically an uptick of people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs over the holiday season and that the Cochrane RCMP will be monitoring the roads closely.

"The number of impaired drivers that you catch is quite often directly relative to the amount of enforcement that you do on it," says Savinkoff. "I know when we go out looking for them, we always find them."