Province says drunk drivers being steered off the roads by tougher rules

Attorney General Shirley Bond marks National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims with new statistics.

  • Nov. 21, 2012 11:00 a.m.

The province says two years after introducing Canada’s toughest provincial impaired driving law, an estimated 104 lives have been saved and impaired driving has dropped significantly.

At an event Wednesday to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims and Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s 25th annual Project Red Ribbon, Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond announced preliminary road-crash fatality data for the two years ending Sept. 30, and the results of a recent driver impairment survey, which included information gathered in Kelowna.

“It’s encouraging to note that, as you drive home late at night, the car coming toward you is far less likely to be piloted by an impaired driver than at any time in recent years,” said Bond. “More people are getting the message that it’s up to each of us to further road safety, by driving sober and following the rules of the road – and it’s paying off by saving lives.”

An inaugural National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims event in Kelowna was slated for Wednesday evening at the corner of Highway 97 and Dilworth Drive.

Since the September 2010 launch of the immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) program, the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths has decreased to an average of 62 a year, said Bond.

That represented a 46 per cent decrease from the average of 114 in each of the previous five years, she added, and well exceeds the government’s original goal, set in 2010 to reduce alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by 35 per cent by the end of 2013.

The government also released an independently conducted survey of drivers in Kelowna, Abbotsford, Prince George, Saanich and Vancouver. It took place in June 2010 and June 2012 as part of an evaluation of the impact of the IRP legislation.

The 2012 Roadside Alcohol and  Drug Survey found 44 per cent fewer drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) 0.05 per cent and over – and nearly 60 per cent fewer drivers were at or over the Criminal Code threshold of 0.08 per cent. The results also showed that levels of drinking and driving were the lowest recorded in the history of seven similar surveys conducted since 1995.

By questioning voluntarily participating drivers, the 2012 survey revealed strong awareness of, support for and concern about facing IRP sanctions:

• More than 82 per cent of drivers said they were aware of the sanctions

• 90 per cent felt the legislation would make roads safer

• 30 per cent said the new law prompted a change in their behaviour

• Asked to rate how inconvenient they thought certain immediate sanctions were, more than two-thirds of respondents saw B.C.’s lengthy driving prohibitions and vehicle impoundment for impaired driving as a “complete inconvenience”

• 53 per cent said they had been stopped in a police alcohol check in the last two years – and nearly half thought there was a good likelihood of being stopped if they drove after consuming too much alcohol

According to government statistics, in the five years before the IRP program, alcohol-related crashes in B.C. claimed an average of 114 lives each year. In the first year of the program, the fatality total was 66, representing 48 lives saved. In the second year, the preliminary total is 58, representing 56 lives saved.

In B.C., drivers impaired by alcohol face immediate penalties that could result in the confiscation of their vehicle, their licence, and cost them anywhere from $600 to more than $4,000 in administrative penalties and remedial program costs.

 

Just Posted

Double book launch in Kelowna

Authors Sharon Thesen and Erin Moure read from their new works Thursday at library

Westbank Opry announces Christmas show

West Kelowna music fans are encouraged to bring a food donation to help the less fortunate

Giants ground Rockets in WHL action

Vancouver builds early lead, never looks back in 6-1 win at Langley Events Centre

Kelowna author promoting life-changing book

Book signing event at Chapters Sunday of long-awaited Runaway Trilogy of life-changing maxims

Pedestrian hit at ‘dangerous’ Kelowna cross walk

Emergency officials responded to a cross walk that neighbours say is unsafe Saturday evening

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Pen High Lakers make strong showing against KSS Owls

Penticton Lakers fought hard through to final set

Gallery celebrates long history of art appreciation

Gallery Odin, at Silver Star Mountain, is gearing up to open their 16th annual Winter Exhibition

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Warriors end seven-game road slide with win in P.G.

West Kelowna bounces back from lopsided loss to the Vees a night earlier with victory over Kings

Mellof, Koffski top Superleague of Curling

Stolairus Aviation sits at 4-0, while Raymond James is 4-1 in Kelowna Curling Club action

Back-to-back wins for the Vees this weekend

Penticton Vees take down Capitals 10-1

Giants stop Rockets’ 4-game winning streak

Vancouver scored four first-period goals to down Kelowna in WHL action.

Most Read