Learn to Drive | Youth Drinking and Driving Bill Tabled on P.E.I.
Last Updated: Monday, December 13, 2010 | 7:21 AM AT CBC News
P.E.I. is planning to raise the age for which it is illegal for young people to drive with any alcohol in their system. The statistics show that many teens even by the age of 19 have not yet learned how to drive a car safely and responsibly.
'My job as minister of transportation is to try to save lives if you can.'— Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley
Currently, drivers under 19 years old can lose their licence for three months, but the government introduced legislation during the fall session of the legislature that would raise the age to 21. Teenagers driving a car are the highest risk drivers because they are still learning how to drive a car responsibly.
Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley told CBC News Friday that statistics show the change makes sense. Although 16- to 25-year-olds only make up 13 per cent of the Canadian population, they account for a third of the country's alcohol-related accidents when driving a car.
"Mothers Against Drunk Driving and that have been lobbying us for some time," said MacKinley.
"We've had a very high percentage of young people 21 and under who were impaired when driving a car. As you know, my job as minister of transportation is to try to save lives if you can."
Highway officials said some young drivers on P.E.I. were caught driving with three times the legal limit.
The fall session of the legislature ended Thursday, so the bill will be carried over to the spring sitting.
A similar law that came into effect in Ontario this summer is facing a constitutional challenge, with the claim that it discriminates on the basis of age.