Holiday impaired suspensions, charges up

Legal issues with B.C.'s new drinking and driving law didn't slow down police road checks and suspensions during the holiday season.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond speaks at Nov. 23 ceremony to mark one year of B.C.'s new impaired driving penalties. A week later

Legal issues with B.C.’s new drinking and driving law didn’t slow down police road checks and suspensions during the holiday season.

From Nov. 1 to Jan. 2, RCMP in the Lower Mainland imposed penalties on 399 drivers, compared to 310 in the same period of 2010. Those totals include impaired driving charges, 90-day vehicle impoundments and administrative licence suspensions.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jon Sigurdson ruled Nov. 30 that parts of B.C.’s new roadside penalty system infringed on drivers’ constitutional right to defend themselves. But just before Christmas he suspended his ruling for six months, allowing police to resume applying their strictest roadside penalties, including 90-day licence suspensions and impounding vehicles for 30 days.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond has vowed to move quickly when the legislature resumes sitting in February, to amend the legislation passed last year that gave police in B.C. the toughest roadside impaired penalties in Canada.

RCMP Superintendent Norm Gaumont said some people may have been confused by the court ruling, believing that they could refuse to blow in a breathalyzer without facing a criminal code charge.

The judge upheld the use of the immediate three-day roadside prohibitions for drivers who blow in the “warn” range between 0.05 and 0.08, and found 90-day suspensions for refusing to give a breath sample area also permissible.

“We’re not backing off,” Gaumont said.

Bond said the first year of the new penalties is the reason for a 40 per cent decrease in alcohol-related deaths on B.C. roads.

Just Posted

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Prices still rising, Chilliwack real estate back in balanced territory

Local market is steadier compared to points west with higher increase in average sale price

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Vancouver city council endorses free transit for youth

Mayor Kennedy Stewart will write a support letter to TransLink

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

B.C. government extends coastal log export rules for six months

Premier John Horgan talks forest policy at loggers’ convention

B.C. pair accused of ‘honour-killing’ in India to be extradited within days

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha are accused of conspiracy to commit murder

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Liberals reject Karen Wang’s hope for ‘second chance’ in byelection vs. Singh

Former Burnaby South candidate dropped out after a post on the Chinese social media platform WeChat

FOCUS: Canada’s revamped impaired driving law brews ‘potential for injustice’

There must be ‘trigger’ for cops to come knocking, Surrey MP says

Most Read