This past week Justice Jon Sigurdson issued a decision on the constitutionality of B.C.’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition program (IRP) that will result in some potential changes to both the penalties and enforcement provisions of British Columbia’s impaired driving laws.
As the month of December is such that law enforcement and counter attack campaigns are a frequent occurrence it is important to be aware of the recent changes.
For those drivers on a first offence with a Breathalyzer reading in the warning range between .05-.08 BAC a driver it still facing both a three day driving prohibition along with a three day vehicle impoundment.
Estimated total costs for a first offence are close to $600, greatly in excess of the price of a cab.
For a second offence drivers are looking at a minimum one week suspension and prohibition with an increase in costs to close to $800 and a third offence extends the time frame to 30 days with costs escalating to around $4,000.
For those drivers who register a fail, they can be potentially facing criminal charges and related penalties as was the case prior to the changes announced in September, 2010.
While the increased fines and penalties imposed may or may not be something residents agree with, there is no dispute that many members of the public are getting the message as there has been a significant 40 per cent reduction in drinking and driving related fatalities.
Please enjoy your holiday season responsibly and plan ahead.
On a different theme, for younger students soon to enter the workforce one of the challenges is often determining a career direction of interest. Recently the B.C. government has created a new online interactive website with a large amount of job and career related information.
Over the next decade, British Columbia is projected to have more than one million job openings.
The new website offers information such as a the B.C. Job Trend Tracker as well as a smartphone app that provides career information for over 500 occupations in British Columbia including a career suitability quiz, career information for jobs in regions throughout B.C and highlights of high-demand occupations.
For younger audiences there is an online board game for kids aged eight to 12 to explore the many fascinating jobs held by workers in every region of B.C.
This is intended to be a fun and educational way to introduce children to a broad range of occupations while they “travel” the province.
To find out more about B.C. Jobs Plan, go to bcjobsplan.ca.
Lastly this week an update for motorists travelling northbound on Highway 97.
While the contractor performs repair work to the Westside Road Interchange there will be flag personnel present helping to direct traffic onto Westside Road.
Please be mindful of this fact and slow down accordingly as winter road conditions can impair conventional vehicle operations.
It should also be noted that lane closures will be in effect, however these closures will occur nightly between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. and not during the day as was reported in some media publications.
Although the cause of the failure remains under investigation, the costs of the repair are the responsibility of the contractor.
Also a reminder if you are travelling to other destinations that the drivebc.ca website has online cameras and road information available.
Please travel safely this holiday season.
Bill Barisoff is the MLA for Penticton.