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New Drunk Driving and Speeding Laws Coming into Effect in B.C.

New Drunk Driving and Speeding Laws Coming into Effect in B.C.

Beginning , B.C. residents will need to be aware of several new driving laws that address impaired driving and speeding.

Some of the changes to the impaired driving laws include:

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. As well, they will have their vehicle impounded for 30 days. Criminal charges may also be laid.
Drivers caught once in the "warn" range (between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent BAC) in a five-year period will face an immediate, three-day driving ban and a $200 fine; a second time, a seven-day ban and a $300 fine; and a third time, a 30-day ban and a $400 fine. Research shows a BAC in that range means a driver is seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash than if they have no alcohol in their body.
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. They must also use an ignition interlock device, which tests a driver's breath for alcohol every time they operate their vehicle, for one year.

Summary of New Impaired Driving Laws

In recent years, B.C. has seen a rise in impaired driving offences, which went up 18 per cent from 2008 to 2009, according to information released last week by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Each year, on average, alcohol-related crashes cause 115 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries in B.C.

B.C. drivers need to know that on , new impoundment rules also come into effect for those travelling 40 km/h or more over the posted speed limit, Solicitor General Mike de Jong said.

"Excessive speed is often a death sentence for everyone involved - the driver, their passengers and other innocent road-users," said de Jong. "We want to save lives by going after the kind of driver who drives significantly and dangerously over the posted speed limit, and then get them off the road. By doing so, we hope to make our streets and highways safer for everyone."

Police issue about 10,000 tickets, annually, for excessive speeding. As of , a charge of excessive speeding will trigger a mandatory seven-day impoundment for a first offence, a 30-day impoundment for a second, and 60 days for subsequent excessive speeding offences within two years.

Impoundment is in addition to existing penalties, which include:

A fine of $368 to $483, depending on how excessive the speed
Three penalty points on a driver's licence
An ICBC driver-risk premium of $320 per year for three years, over and above Autoplan insurance premiums

Street racers are also affected by the new rules. While street racing differs from excessive speeding, because it involves two or more vehicles trying to out-distance each other, under the new impoundment provisions, both are subject to a minimum impoundment of 7 days.

Previously, street racing had a minimum impoundment period of 48 hours. Additionally, the Motor Vehicle Act now makes careless acts like excessive tailgating, and reckless driving actions like wheelies and doughnuts - subject to a seven-day impoundment.

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ICBC Class 6 Learners Motorcycle Practice Test
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