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

Fraser Health to buy two private MRI clinics in Surrey, Abbotsford

New clinics will provide 2,000 more MRIs by fiscal year-end

Abbotsford’s Batra disqualified after late attack

Austin Batra loses title after knocking opponent out in 32 seconds

Nominees announced for annual Arty Awards

Event takes place Sept. 29 at The Reach in Abbotsford

Family, friends of Mission murder victim hold protest rally

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Abbotsford Olympians back in the pool

Local swim club ready for new season

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Snowbird RV Show

Highlights from the Abbotsford event

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye salmon

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Most Read