New law saved 104 lives

Two years after B.C. introduced Canada's toughest provincial impaired driving law, an estimated 104 lives have been
saved and impaired driving has dropped significantly.

Since the September 2010 launch of the immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) program, the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths has decreased to an average of 62 a year. This represents a 46 per cent decrease from the average of 114 in each of the previous five years.

This success well exceeds government's goal, set in 2010 in honour of impaired driving victim Alexa Middelaer, to reduce alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by 35 per cent by the end of 2013.

Andy Murie, chief executive officer, MADD Canada, "When B.C. introduced its IRP sanctions in 2010, we said we believed that these major, escalating penalties and mandatory remedial programs would better support both deterrence and enforcement, save lives and prevent hundreds of injuries each year. The prevalencesurvey supports that belief. B.C. has set a new benchmark in reducing impaired driving and the related death toll on its roads."

By questioning voluntarily participating drivers, a 2012 survey revealed strong awareness of, support for and concern about facing B.C.'s IRP sanctions:

  • More than 82 per cent of drivers said they were aware of the sanctions.
  • 90 per cent felt the legislation would make roads safer.
  • 30 per cent said the new law prompted a change in their behaviour.
  • Asked to rate how inconvenient they thought certain immediate sanctions were, more than two-thirds of respondents saw B.C.'s lengthy driving prohibitions and vehicle impoundment for impaired driving as a "complete inconvenience."
  • 53 per cent said they had been stopped in a police alcohol check in the last two years - and nearly half thought there was a good likelihood of being stopped if they drove after consuming too much alcohol.

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