Holiday impaired suspensions, charges up

Legal issues with B.C.'s new drinking and driving law didn't slow down police road checks and suspensions during the holiday season.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond speaks at Nov. 23 ceremony to mark one year of B.C.'s new impaired driving penalties. A week later

Legal issues with B.C.’s new drinking and driving law didn’t slow down police road checks and suspensions during the holiday season.

From Nov. 1 to Jan. 2, RCMP in the Lower Mainland imposed penalties on 399 drivers, compared to 310 in the same period of 2010. Those totals include impaired driving charges, 90-day vehicle impoundments and administrative licence suspensions.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jon Sigurdson ruled Nov. 30 that parts of B.C.’s new roadside penalty system infringed on drivers’ constitutional right to defend themselves. But just before Christmas he suspended his ruling for six months, allowing police to resume applying their strictest roadside penalties, including 90-day licence suspensions and impounding vehicles for 30 days.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond has vowed to move quickly when the legislature resumes sitting in February, to amend the legislation passed last year that gave police in B.C. the toughest roadside impaired penalties in Canada.

RCMP Superintendent Norm Gaumont said some people may have been confused by the court ruling, believing that they could refuse to blow in a breathalyzer without facing a criminal code charge.

The judge upheld the use of the immediate three-day roadside prohibitions for drivers who blow in the “warn” range between 0.05 and 0.08, and found 90-day suspensions for refusing to give a breath sample area also permissible.

“We’re not backing off,” Gaumont said.

Bond said the first year of the new penalties is the reason for a 40 per cent decrease in alcohol-related deaths on B.C. roads.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Wind warning has ended for Metro Vancouver

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read