Impaired driving down, 104 lives saved under tough law

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.

At an event today to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims and Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s 25th annual Project Red Ribbon, Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond announced preliminary road-crash fatality data for the two years ending Sept. 30, 2012, and the results of a recent driver impairment survey.

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.

Government also released today an independently conducted survey of drivers in Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George, Saanich and Vancouver. It took place in June 2010 and June 2012 as part of an evaluation of the impact of B.C.’s IRP legislation. The 2012 Roadside Alcohol and Drug Survey found 44 per cent fewer drivers had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) 0.05 per cent and over – and nearly 60 per cent fewer drivers were at or over the Criminal Code threshold of 0.08 per cent. The results also showed that levels of drinking and driving were the lowest recorded in the history of seven similar surveys conducted since 1995.