Tipsy motorists could face some stiff penalties this holiday season, Summerland RCMP say.
During the holiday season, police will be out conducting their annual impaired driving patrols.
“We want to remind everyone that the safest way home or elsewhere is to ensure you have a safe and sober drive,” said Cpl. Chris Richardson. “Driving while under the influence puts everyone at risk.”
British Columbia’s impaired driving laws are considered the toughest in Canada.
Richardson said there are several levels of fines and penalties in place for motorists who are caught driving while impaired.
The lightest penalty, for those blowing a Warn level — a level between .05 and .08 — on a first offence, is a three-day license suspension and the vehicle impounded for three days.
The second time a motorist blows a Warn level, his or her driver’s license is suspended for seven days and the vehicle is impounded for the same length of time.
Those blowing a Fail reading — .08 or higher — will face a 90-day license suspension. The vehicle will be locked up for 30 days.
In addition, those who blow a Fail reading may face ongoing restrictions.
An interlock program, installed at the owner’s expense, forces the motorist to provide a breath sample before starting the vehicle. Then, every 15 minutes the vehicle is running, another sample is required.
Richardson said the interlock unit is required on every vehicle the motorist drives.
He said the strict penalties are resulting in changes in behaviour among motorists.
“People are aware of the fines and penalties,” he said.
Richardson urges motorists to watch the amount of alcohol they are consuming during the course of the evening.
“The drinks do add up,” he said.