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

Born and raised Revelstokian launching an NGO to help children in Kenya

Deanne Berarducci has been volunteering abroad since 2012

Liam’s Lowdown: it’s the little things that get you

At first, the name of my column was going to be Liam’s Lament

Despite brief shut downs Revelstoke’s Downie Timber weathering the storm

The forestry industry is taking a hit across the province

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Aug. 21

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Aug. 21

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

Man shot near Coalmont airlifted to hospital

A man was shot near Coalmont B.C. Saturday afternoon. The victim was… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Renter of torched Okanagan home a British Army veteran, new Canadian

Owen Wilson was just beginning to settle into life in Canada when the blaze occurred

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read