Since the B.C. government implemented stiffer roadside prohibitions in the Motor Vehicle Act for impaired drivers, there’s been a 54% average annual reduction in fatalities, according to data released through the freedom of information process.

The Immediate Roadside Prohibitions for drivers with alcohol in their system was announced and implemented in 2010 and “had an immediate impact on fatalities across the province,” a preliminary report on alcohol-related driving fatalities states.

The first year of the program, alcohol-related driving deaths dropped from 113 to 68 — a 40% reduction, which continued through 2012 (49) and 2013 (51), according to the report.

From October 2010 to June 2014, it reduced from 113 to 52 on average — a 54% reduction.

“We estimated that 227 lives have been saved,” said Justice Minister Suzanne Anton. “It’s been an extremely successful program.”

Anton said they estimate 227 lives saved by comparing statistics before and after the roadside implementations were brought in.

“It used to be a very high rate of alcohol-related deaths, crashes and fatalities, but there are less now,” she said. “This program ... is the toughest program of its kind in Canada.

“Our goal is to have the safest roads in North America by 2020.”

While the dent in fatalities is a welcome one, the number of drunk drivers finding their way on B.C.’s roads is still high, according to Markita Kaulius, with Families for Justice.

In 2011, the number of immediate roadside prohibitions exceeded 22,000. Then in 2012, the number dropped to 13,549, but in 2013 it hit more than 19,000 and in 2014 sat at more than 18,000, according to Road Safe BC data.

Kaulius lost her 22-year-old daughter Kassandra to a drunk driver in 2011.

“We continue to see impaired driving numbers,” she said. “Impaired driving is still not considered as serious as it should be.”

Kaulius and Families for Justice are behind federal Bill C-652 introduced earlier this year — called Kassandra’s Law — seeking to change the criminal code to boost impaired driving causing death to vehicular homicide that would come with a life imprisonment penalty.

“My family and I live everyday, and for the rest of our lives, with the consequences with somebody who made the choice to drink and drive,” she said. “There’re absolutely no words to describe what it’s like to lose your child.”

Source: Vancouver 24hrs


Last updated on: 2015-06-30 | Link to this post