Impaired deaths down in B.C.

B.C.'s tough new impaired driving penalties have helped reduce deaths by 40 per cent in the first year.

Laurel Middelaer (front left) joins Premier Christy Clark

VICTORIA – B.C.’s tough new impaired driving penalties have helped reduce deaths by 40 per cent in the first year since they came into effect, according to preliminary figures released by the provincial government Wednesday.

There were 68 alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths across B.C. in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, compared with 113 deaths in the previous 12 months.

Premier Christy Clark and Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond marked the occasion with a ceremony in front of the legislature, with police officers and Laurel Middelaer, whose four-year-old daughter Alexa was struck and killed by an impaired driver in Delta in 2008.

Clark announced a $40,000 contribution to establish “Alexa’s Bus,” a mobile road safety unit that will focus on impaired driving education and enforcement.

Clark said the statistics validate a controversial decision by the government to implement Canada’s toughest roadside penalties for blood alcohol readings as low as 0.05 per cent.

A blood alcohol reading in the “warn” range between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent can result in a three-day driving ban, a $200 “administrative penalty” and another $250 fee to have a driver’s licence reinstated. Drivers may also have their car impounded for three days and be billed for towing and storage.

For roadside readings of 0.08 per cent or higher, police have the option of imposing a 90-day driving ban, a $500 fine and impounding the vehicle for 30 days. That suspension can cost a driver $3,750, including $700 for towing and storage and $1,420 to take a mandatory “responsible driver” course.

“For the first time in a decade, we’ve sen a real drop in the deaths associated with impaired driving, and 45 more people made it home safe in the past year as a result,” Bond said.

“Together with public education, prevention programs and criminal sanctions, the roadside penalties will continue to play a role in helping to ensure the success seen over the past year becomes a life-saving trend over the longer term.”

Just Posted

LETTER: Fisheries letter invites colonized misinformation

Leah Ballantyne writes to share her disappointment in a recent letter to the Observer

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read