Impaired deaths down in B.C.

B.C.'s tough new impaired driving penalties have helped reduce deaths by 40 per cent in the first year.

Laurel Middelaer (front left) joins Premier Christy Clark

VICTORIA – B.C.’s tough new impaired driving penalties have helped reduce deaths by 40 per cent in the first year since they came into effect, according to preliminary figures released by the provincial government Wednesday.

There were 68 alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths across B.C. in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, compared with 113 deaths in the previous 12 months.

Premier Christy Clark and Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond marked the occasion with a ceremony in front of the legislature, with police officers and Laurel Middelaer, whose four-year-old daughter Alexa was struck and killed by an impaired driver in Delta in 2008.

Clark announced a $40,000 contribution to establish “Alexa’s Bus,” a mobile road safety unit that will focus on impaired driving education and enforcement.

Clark said the statistics validate a controversial decision by the government to implement Canada’s toughest roadside penalties for blood alcohol readings as low as 0.05 per cent.

A blood alcohol reading in the “warn” range between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent can result in a three-day driving ban, a $200 “administrative penalty” and another $250 fee to have a driver’s licence reinstated. Drivers may also have their car impounded for three days and be billed for towing and storage.

For roadside readings of 0.08 per cent or higher, police have the option of imposing a 90-day driving ban, a $500 fine and impounding the vehicle for 30 days. That suspension can cost a driver $3,750, including $700 for towing and storage and $1,420 to take a mandatory “responsible driver” course.

“For the first time in a decade, we’ve sen a real drop in the deaths associated with impaired driving, and 45 more people made it home safe in the past year as a result,” Bond said.

“Together with public education, prevention programs and criminal sanctions, the roadside penalties will continue to play a role in helping to ensure the success seen over the past year becomes a life-saving trend over the longer term.”

Just Posted

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

Learning to stand on new ground

After a lifetime of achievement, a businesswoman seeks meaning within

Village’s second-in-command calls it quits

Warren Leigh taking on job with Arctic mining company

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Skier air lifted from Cherryville

Elementary school students get a close look at emergency services in action

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Most Read