Letter: Drunk driving penalties aren’t there yet

Fatal Saanich crash on Saturday, drunk driving incidents in Victoria highlight likely ongoing problems

The possibility of alcohol in the fatal Saanich crash on Saturday, in addition to the two incidents of drunk driving occurring on the weekend in Victoria, draw attention to the ongoing problem of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.

I am pleased to see Victoria making an attempt to toughen drunk driving penalties. Legislation that focuses on repeat offenders being admitted into remedial programs and the requirement of blowing into a breathalyzer to start a vehicle seems appropriate and necessary.

However, the B.C. Justice Minister is concerned that the new legislation will be challenged as unconstitutional. I believe it is an important step in ensuring public safety. Other than an increase in fine amount, and the inconvenience of a three-day vehicle impoundment becoming week-long, there isn’t much preventing an individual from driving under the influence for a second time.

Although the lack of fatalities in two of the previously mentioned alcohol-related crashes is a sigh of relief, they still demonstrate the persistence of this issue, and the need for alterations to be made to the current legislation.

While B.C. imposes immediate roadside prohibition at .05 BAC or higher, the Criminal Code defines drunk driving as a BAC of .08 and above. Lowering the legally accepted BAC could prevent the roads from individuals who drive in the .05 to .10 range because of the belief that they are under .08 or that they won’t be caught.

There would also be more room to criminally charge repeat offenders who often drive dangerously under the influence, yet are just shy of the 80% mg mark. The presence of alcohol, although in decline, is still responsible for approximately 900 (40% of all) motor vehicle deaths in Canada annually. Approximately 38% of all injured drivers were found to have been drinking, with 425 (75%) possessing a BAC over 80% mg, according to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation). Unlike weather conditions and motor vehicle failure, driving under the influence is highly preventable.

Both federal and provincial governments should put effort into ensuring safety on the roads by limiting the allowable BAC, harshening the fines and sentences, and implementing the remedial program and ignition interlock system legislation for repeat offenders.

Viktoria SouslikovaVictoria


Just Posted

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

GoodLife marathon helps enrich lives, share stories

Seniors’ care one of many causes supported by GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Oak Bay community invited to News’ 5th annual readers tea

Oak Bay News, Carlton House host Sept. 17 afternoon tea

Colwood square dancing open house to welcome in new dancers

“It’s therapy,” said long-time square dancer Linda Townsend

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read