Strengthened Impaired Driving Penalties to Take Effect in September

August 6, 2010

On September 20, B.C. will have what the government describes as “Canada’s toughest impaired driving penalties.” A news release from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General outlines some of the highlights of the new penalties:

Drivers who provide a failing breath sample above 0.08 per cent blood-alcohol content (BAC) or refuse to provide a breath sample at the roadside will face an immediate, 90-day driving ban and a $500 fine. As well, they will have their vehicle impounded for 30 days. Criminal charges may also be laid.

Drivers caught once in the “warn” range (between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent BAC) in a five-year period will face an immediate, three-day driving ban and a $200 fine; a second time, a seven-day ban and a $300 fine; and a third time, a 30-day ban and a $400 fine. Research shows a BAC in that range means a driver is seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash than if they have no alcohol in their body.

In addition, drivers who blow once in the “fail” range, or three times within five years in the “warn” range, will be required to participate in the rehabilitative Responsible Driver Program. They must also use an ignition interlock device, which tests a driver’s breath for alcohol every time they operate their vehicle, for one year.

For more information on the new impaired driving penalties, see the impaired driving information page on the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles website.

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