NEWS RELEASE · 16th May 2010
Ministry of Public Safety
The Province is honouring crash victims during Canada's Road Safety Week by reminding British Columbians of road-safety measures introduced over the past year, including tougher impaired driving laws and more tools to help police intercept disqualified drivers.
Since Canada's Road Safety Week in May of last year, the Province has:
* Introduced Canada's toughest roadside penalties for impaired driving. Under them, drivers who provide a breath sample in the "fail" range (with blood- alcohol content of 0.08 per cent or higher) will face an immediate, 90-day driving ban and $3,750 in administrative penalties, as well as possible criminal charges. Drivers who provide a breath sample in the "warn" range (with blood-alcohol content between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent) will face escalating penalties, ranging from a $200 fine and a three-day driving ban the first time within a five-year period, to $400 and a 30-day ban the third time.
* Expanded use of automated licence plate readers - dashboard-mounted scanners that alert officers when dangerous, unlicensed and prohibited drivers are illegally on B.C. roads. The number of these cameras has risen to 30 from nine, with coverage expanding beyond the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to Greater Victoria, Prince George, Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Courtenay/Comox and high-traffic corridors throughout B.C. Police now have the capacity to scan up to 18,000 licence plates an hour.
* Introduced new motorcycle helmet standards for all riders and power restrictions for new riders.
* Launched distracted driving laws that limit drivers' use of cellphones and other electronic devices. In the first two months after fines kicked in, police issued more than 4,800 tickets related to the new Motor Vehicle Act offences.
Of nearly 3,000 lives lost on Canada's roadways each year, most are in crashes related to alcohol - including more than 100 deaths in B.C. The implementation of new impaired driving penalties this fall will help the Province reach its goal honouring Alexa Middelaer: a 35 per cent reduction in alcohol-related crash deaths by the end of 2013. Four-year-old Middelaer was killed by an alleged impaired driver in Delta in 2008.
Canada Road Safety Week is a national, police enforcement-driven effort to increase safe driving and save lives. This year, it runs May 18 to 24, with enforcement focused on impaired driving, seatbelt use, aggressive driving and intersection safety. Police also work with media and community partners to highlight the importance of safe driving.