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

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada issues a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Northwest Regional Airport terminal project officially opens

Celebration today marks the completion of phase one of the Terrace-Kitimat airport expansion

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

North coast represented on B.C.’s new Wild Salmon Advisory Council

Joy Thorkelson, James Lawson and Tasha Sutcliffe will help create strategies to protect B.C. salmon

Suncor refinery restart to ease B.C. gas station fuel outages

Suncor’s 142,000 barrel-a-day Edmonton refinery was restarted last week after being shut down

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades

Over 30 years the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Family separation policy starts dividing Republicans

Deep concerns arise over the child separation policy in the U.S.

Strong earthquake in Japan kills 3

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck the area early Monday near Osaka

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after an incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

Most Read