Victoria, British Columbia – Drivers in British Columbia will face the toughest laws and penalties in Canada that will enable police to get impaired drivers off the road faster and for longer periods of time, starting in September. The announcement was made by Solicitor General Michael de Jong.

“Unfortunately, impaired driving is on the increase in this province, and that’s alarming because it means some people still aren’t getting the message,” de Jong said. “The new penalties will be a wake-up call because when September comes, drinking drivers can lose their driver’s licence, have their vehicle impounded, and pay costs that range from $600 to $3,750.”

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, and the vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. Criminal charges may also be laid.

Drivers caught once in the “warn” range, between 0.05 and 0.08 BAC, in a five-year period will face an immediately three-day driving ban and $200 fine. Caught a second time, they receive a seven-day ban and $300 fine, and for a third time, a 30-day ban and $400 fine.  

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, and also use an ignition interlock device for one year.

Impaired driving offences rose 18 per cent from 2008 to 2009 in British Columbia, and on average, alcohol-related crashes cause 115 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries in the province each year.

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