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

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Most Read