Drinking and driving is down sharply in B.C.

Drunk driving deaths down for second year

Province credits its policy of tougher roadside penalties

B.C.’s toughened roadside penalties on drinking drivers are being credited for cutting alcohol-related crash deaths for a second straight year.

The province estimates 104 lives have been saved since the immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) system took effect in September 2010.

That’s based on a drop from an average of 114 impaired fatalities prior to the new rules to 66 in the first full year of the IRP program and 58 in the second year.

Provincial government officials say the initiative has drastically changed British Columbian attitudes to drinking and getting behind the wheel.

“As you drive home late at night, the car coming toward you is far less likely to be piloted by an impaired driver than at any time in recent years,” Justice Minister Shirley Bond said.

She said B.C. is so far averaging a 46 per cent drop in drunk driving fatalities – bett er than a target of 35 per cent set in 2010 in honour of impaired driving victim Alexa Middelaer.

The roadside penalties can result in licence suspensions, vehicle impoundments and can cost drivers $600 to $4,000 in administrative penalties and remedial program costs.

The new approach has also meant a major shift away from criminal prosecution of suspected impaired drivers, which consumes much police investigation and court time.

A June survey of drivers in five communities (Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George and Saanich) found the lowest levels of drinking and driving ever recorded in a series of similar surveys dating back to 1995.

Nearly 60 per cent fewer drivers who agreed to be tested for the survey were at or over the 0.08 criminal blood-alcohol level than in past years, and there was a 44 per cent drop in those who tested in the warn range above 0.05.

Drivers aged 25 to 54 were most likely to say their behaviour has changed due to the new sanctions and those under 25 were most likely to say they never drink and drive.

The tests found no drivers aged 16 to 18 who had been drinking, which is thought to be a benefit of B.C.’s graduated licensing system that restricts novice and learners to a zero blood alcohol content.

Just Posted

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Harsher fines, new off-road vehicle rules in effect to combat B.C. wildfires

Anyone who starts a wildfire could be ordered to pay up to $1,000,000

Muddy water found in taps at B.C. hospital prompts investigation

Northern Health to hire consultant to examine three facilities for potential contamination

Lower Mainland based rabbit rescue pleads for foster homes

The Langley-centred Small Animal Rescue Society needs foster families to take new bunnies.

RCMP officer charged after pedestrian struck at crosswalk

A man suffered a broken leg and head lacerations after being struck by the police vehicle in 2017

B.C. gives tax breaks to jumpstart LNG in northwest

LNG income tax scrapped, break on sales tax for producers

BCHL Today: Wenatchee goes Wild against Vernon Vipers

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

B.C’s Indigenous tourism takes centre stage in Chilliwack

One-day workshop will look at ways to imbue the industry with authenticity

IIO seeks witness of fatality after Taser incident in Chilliwack

Police watchdog release image of Dodge Ram asking for driver/occupant to make contact

Most Read