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

Snowy morning on mountain west of Penticton

Snow fell for about two hours and stayed on the ground for four, says resort manager

Penticton woman dies after Riva Ridge Mobile Park fire in May

BC Coroners Service says investigation in progress

Comedic play about calling cable service company will be staged in Summerland

The Penticton Chamber Theatre will stage Able Cable in Summerland on June 22

Celebration of the life of Penticton philanthropist Kampe scheduled

David Kampe, 77, died on May 8 surrounded by friends and family.

From fire to awards: wild week for Similkameen winery

Roller coaster of a week for the owners at Forbidden Fruit Winery in Cawston

Snowy morning on mountain west of Penticton

Snow fell for about two hours and stayed on the ground for four, says resort manager

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Interior forestry workers ratify five-year contract

It was approved by United Steelworkers Local 1-417, which represents workers in Kamloops, Kelowna

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Man surrenders following standoff in Kamloops

Massive police response in Kamloops was in connection with a reported domestic dispute

Most Read