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

Individuals chosen to begin ‘road to recovery’ at supportive housing facility

Orca Place at 222 Corfield St. is expected to open this summer

RCMP make arrest following break-in at Parksville’s Log Cabin General Store

Police credit tips from public for helping with case

Qualicum Beach craft beer festival to showcase local brews, spirits

Event will feature 20 Vancouver Island breweries and distilleries

Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum partner on studying child care needs

Union of B.C. Municipalities provides $125,000 grant

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Most Read