EDITORIAL: New laws promise to make roads safer

Police kick off CounterAttack campaign across Capital Region

The lights twinkle from the homes and shops as you drive by, sidewalks are abuzz with the hustle and bustle of people in a hurry to keep up with the frantic pace of the season. And that’s all the more reason to take a moment to pause before you get behind the wheel – or if you’ve indulged in a bit of the holiday cheer, forgo getting behind the wheel at all.

Police have kicked off the CounterAttack campaign for the holiday season, bringing road checks to highways and byways across the Capital Region. And this year police will have one more weapon in their arsenal.

New laws which take effect Dec. 18 allow police to conduct a breath test on any driver who has been stopped at a road check without requiring a suspicion that the person had been drinking.

READ: Compulsory breath tests take effect

“This is one of the most significant changes to the laws related to impaired driving in more than 40 years and is another way that we are modernizing the criminal justice system,” said federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The new rules are aimed at stopping drivers who deny consuming alcohol, which could potentially prevent police from forming the reasonable suspicion to require the driver to take an alcohol screening test. Minimum fines and maximum penalties have also been increased under the new laws.

Impaired driving remains a leading cause of fatal car crashes, with an average of 68 lives lost every year in B.C.

In 2017, there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents reported by the police, including almost 3,500 drug-impaired driving incidents.

READ: Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

So now there’s even less reason to get behind the wheel after indulging in the Christmas spirits. Call a friend, hop on a bus, take a taxi – just don’t take a chance that could destroy the Christmas of so many, including your own.

The flashing lights are a beautiful sight at this time of year, unless you’re looking at them in the rear-view mirror.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

Hundreds of foreign species still washing up on B.C. coast, eight years after tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Victoria first Canadian city to join United Nations tree planting challenge

The City of Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Most Read