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

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Illness and injury leaving many Abbotsford firefighters unable to work

More than 20 firefighters missed time due to long-term illness or injury last year

Mouat’s Benning signs with UFV wrestling

Benning one of 10 new recruits inked for the fall

Donation of more than $20,000 supports Shine On Legacy Fund

Fund created in memory of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson

UPDATE: Fire destroys Chilliwack restaurant

Popular Banners Restaurant goes up in flames Sunday morning.

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man facing charges after baby food stolen from Richmond doorstep

A 40-year-old man is facing several charges

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

10 of TransLink’s most used SkyTrain routes

TransLink released its 2017 Transit Network Performance Review, offering snapshot of ridership

Serial speeder clocked going 138 km/hr in 90 zone

Driver had their vehicle impounded

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

VIDEO: Plane crashes in Langley farm field (updated)

Plane lost power shortly after takeoff, RCMP told

Most Read