Tuesday September 20, 2010

Local News

New Drunk Driving Laws Hit Hard

Toughest road rules in Canada 

Staff

 

he message is simple.  Go ahead and drink and drive, but if you're that stupid, you'll be dealing with the toughest drunk driving laws on the books in Canada. One tip too many and the life as you once knew forgettaboutit.

 

    On Monday, Police were handed more powerful weapons in the battle to get drunks off of BC roads.

Changes to the BC Motor Vehicle Act brought in last spring, took are now in effect.

The legal limit of .08 per cent hasn't changed, but everything else has. Drive drunk now and your life might come to a crashing halt, regardless of whether or not you've been in an accident and will end up costing between $600-$4000 in fines and costs.

In BC under the new law, if a driver fails the breathalyzer test, they're given an automatic 90-day driving ban, their vehicle is impounded for 30-days, they are dished out a $500 fine and that may have to appear in court to face criminal charges. This also applies to refusing to blow.

There is a little leeway for a stern warnings with fines and driving suspensions increasing incrementally over a 5-year period. For example, driver's who blow between .05 and .08 the first time are banned from driving for 3-days effective on the spot and handed a $200 fine. Get caught again and the penalty increases to $300 and a 7-day ban. A third strike and they're looking at a $400 and 30-day drivers licence suspension. If a driver offends repeatedly then they're going to be headed to Responsible River Program school for rehabilitation.

Wait, there's more. Driver's will also have to slap on an ignition interlock system at their expense which tests their breath for alcohol and stops the motor from turning over if alcohol is detected.

Drinking and driving continues to take a deadly toll on B.C.'s roads. In an average year police attend approximately 5,100 motor vehicle crashes where alcohol is involved, and 3,000 people are injured and 115 people die.

In a September 20 press release, the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation said that province-wide, drinking and driving causes police to attend about 5,100 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes with 3,000 people injured resulting in 115 deaths and that 80 per cent of accidents happen between Friday and Sunday from 9pm to 3am. and also that the 16 to 25-year-old bracket account for the highest number of impaired drivers with males accounting for 80 per cent of the accidents.

The press release goes on to say that "Allan Lamb, Executive Director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation reiterated that the Foundation is pleased that the police will have these tools and says ending impaired driving is the responsibility of the driver in the first place, but it is also the responsibility of hosts, friends and family not to let an individual drive a vehicle if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs."

How do you know if you're legally too drunk to drive?

"On average if a person drinks two alcoholic beverages in an hour they're going to blow over the limit" said RCMP Staff Sergeant Mike Alexander on CKNW

He said in addition there will be more police officers on the roads because more will be tied up with individual investigations.

"The amount of time a member spends on an investigation into the criminal code is going to be increased by about 90 per cent," he said. "These are swift, sure penalties that a member can use roadside on criminal driving behaviour to get that impaired driver off the road."

Gone are the 24-hour roadside suspensions. It's now "three clear days". For instance if the driver loses their licence on a Monday, they will have to wait until Friday to get it back. Just getting back on the road after isn't going to be easy either. They will have to go into an MV branch and actually re-apply to get it back and that process is $250.

"Excessive speeding" which is defined as going 40km over the posted limit is going to get drivers into a lot of trouble too. Get caught ripping it up and drivers will lose their car on the spot for a week.

"They will have to pay the towing and storage for 7 clear days," warned Alexander.

More information about changes to impaired driving penalties is available at www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv  online.

DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is a non-profit registered charity working with families, communities and business partners to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes and injuries in B.C. For more information visit www.BCAATSF.ca  or call 604-298-5107.

With notes from the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and CKNW radio.

 

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