Changes to the BC Motor Vehicle Act will come into affect on September 20th, 2010. BC’s worst offenders: those who drive impaired and those who drive at excessive speeds will see significant changes in fines and consequences. One major change is the new, roadside-issued, 90-day driving bans state police officers will no longer need to take drivers to the station for a full breath analysis in order to impose a driving ban longer than 24 hours.
Excessive speed is defined as going 40 km/hour over the posted speed limit. If caught, the driver’s car will be impounded for seven days (up from 48 hours) and up to 60 days for multiple offences. In addition, fines up to $483 will be charged and three penalty points imposed on the driver’s license. Add to this a driver-risk insurance premium of $320 per year for three years.
Impaired driving infractions are determined by a system of pass, warn and fail at the discretion of the roadside police officer. If you are caught driving with a warning level – BAC (blood alcohol level) of .05 to .08, you will lose your license for three days and you may lose your car for three days plus incur fines, towing and storage fees. Estimated cost: $600.
If you receive a fail – over .08 BAC – you will immediately lose your license for 90 days, your vehicle for 30 days and be fined. To get your drivers license reinstated, you will need to complete the Responsible Drivers Program and use an Ignition Interlock Device for one year. Estimated cost: – over $4000.
Now that I have spouted some of the facts, here is the reality. For the average person, having a beer or two after work on Friday is usually no big deal, but now it can be a huge deal if you need to drive home. It doesn’t take much for a 120 pound women to hit the .05 BAC. And the only thing to reduce the BAC is time! No, drinking coffee or water does not work, walking, or going to the bathroom does not work. Time is the only thing that will reduce BAC as your body metabolizes the alcohol.
But will these laws really deter the offenders? Those who willingly drive fast for the thrill, those who willingly drink too much and get behind the wheel – will continue to do so until they are caught. At least with the new rules if they are caught the consequences will increase the time until they can re-offend again.