New Drinking & Driving Laws Credited With Saving Lives

In response to an article in the Globe and Mail

BC’s new drinking and driving laws, enforced since last September, are being credited with reducing alcohol-related vehicle deaths by as much as 50%. The Globe and Mail reports that in the 7 months between last October and April, there were 30 such fatalities – 31 fewer than the previous 5 year average.

These are impressive statistics, especially considering the government’s goal was to reduce fatalities by a third in three years.

The new law prescribes stiffer penalties to those driving drunk. Drivers blowing over the 0.08% legal limit are now faced with an immediate 90-day driving ban and a $500 fine.

Their vehicle can be impounded for 30 days. These penalties may also apply to those who simply refuse to provide a breath sample to police when asked.

The Globe and Mail notes that there is a new “warning” category for drivers with blood-alcohol levels between 0.05 and 0.08%. Penalties for drivers in this category include an immediate, 3-day driving ban and a $200 fine for a first-time offence.

Both cases result in hefty charges to offenders trying to restore their driving privileges.

The BC government was getting ready to run a campaign suggesting that it’s OK to drink “a little” and drive. The campaign was planned in response to an outcry made by the restaurant and bar industry who claim that their businesses are suffering because of the recent legislation.

The campaign is no longer moving ahead. The results of the drinking and driving laws are simply too compelling to ignore.

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