Starting Monday, Sept. 20, Canada's toughest impaired driving law and new penalties for excessive speeders will help save lives by immediately removing drunk drivers and speeders from B.C. roads, Solicitor General Michael de Jong, QC, announced today.
"When someone gets behind the wheel of a car and drives drunk or speeds excessively, it's no accident, it's a deliberate choice," said de Jong. "We want to protect all motorists by giving police more enforcement tools to stop irresponsible drivers in their tracks."
Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act introduced last spring mean drivers impaired by alcohol will face swift penalties that may take away their vehicle, their licence, and cost them anywhere from $600 to about $4,060 in administrative penalties.
Motorists caught speeding excessively - driving 40 km/h over the posted speed limit - will have their vehicle impounded for seven days and face escalating penalties for repeat offences. Impoundment is in addition to existing penalties for excessive speeding, which include fines, penalty points and increased premiums.
Data shows the incidence of impaired driving is on the rise in B.C., killing 133 people and causing more than 3,000 injuries on average, every year.
In honour of four year old Alexa Middelaer, who was killed by a drunk driver in Delta two years ago, the Province's goal is to reduce alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by 35 per cent by the end of 2013. Taking into account projected increases in B.C.'s population, this translates into a reduction in the average annual number of alcohol- impaired deaths from 133 to 94.
Excessive speeders are also being targeted by changes to the act, as speeding is the number-one contributing factor to motor vehicle fatalities. According to the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC), police catch about 10,000 excessive speeders annually.
"We know that when speed or alcohol is mixed with driving, it's a recipe for a deadly crash," said Superintendent Mike Diack, Officer in Charge of the RCMP's "E" Division Traffic Services. "These changes will make our roads and highways much safer by removing reckless drivers and deterring them from driving carelessly."
More details about changes to the Motor Vehicle Act are available at: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/