Roadside suspensions credited for cut in drunk driving deaths

"Immediate roadside prohibition" seizing vehicles and licences has replaced most impaired driving charges

Police-imposed roadside penalties have largely replaced impaired driving charges with vehicle seizures and steep administrative penalties.

VICTORIA – Roadside suspensions and vehicle seizures for drivers blowing as low as 0.05 per cent blood alcohol have helped cut B.C. drinking and driving deaths by half, Attorney General Suzanne Anton said Monday.

Government statistics show average fatalities from drinking and driving have fallen to 54 a year from a previous five-year average of 112, since the law took effect in September 2010. Anton said the program is so successful that other provinces are moving in the same direction.

Anton wouldn’t comment on court challenges to the program, which imposes penalties on people who test in the “warn” range below 0.08, where they are subject to impaired driving charges.

“If there have to be changes made to it, we will be making those, but the program is good, it saves lives and that’s what’s important,” Anton said.

The “immediate roadside prohibition” program replaced most impaired driving charges with administrative penalties, including a three-day driving ban and a $200 administrative fee for those who blow between 0.05 and 0.08, if the police officer has reason to believe the driver is impaired.

For those who blow in the “impaired” range of 0.08 or higher, police have the option of imposing a 90-day driving ban, a $500 penalty and impounding the vehicle for 30 days instead of laying a charge. Towing and impounding a vehicle can result in a $700 bill, and a $1,400 mandatory “responsible driver program” may also be required before the driver’s licence is returned.

The government terms the measure “Alexa’s Law,” after four-year-old Alexa Middelaer, who was feeding horses at the roadside in Delta when she was struck by an impaired driver and killed in 2008.

“After decades of stagnant progress on reducing the number of preventable deaths caused by drinking and driving, as a community we’ve made significant and sustained changes,” said Laurel Middelaer, Alexa’s mother, who has been an advocate on the issue since the tragedy.

 

Just Posted

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Stellar musicians, performers recognized at 54th Pacific Northwest Music Festival

More than 150 awards, scholarships given out to Northwest B.C. participants

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

MP Nathan Cullen to testify at oil tanker ban committee hearings

Senators travel to Prince Rupert and Terrace as part of fact-finding mission on Bill C-48

Hazelton RCMP officer pleads not guilty to assault

A trial date for Const. Eric Unrau will be set on Apr. 23

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries will be available on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Elizabeth May’s B.C. wedding will be a ‘low carbon affair’ on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Verdict scheduled in Giesbrecht murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court justice will render his decision May 24

Most Read