June 28, 2013 - 11:24 AM
Having one of Canada's toughest provincial drinking and driving laws has helped to save an estimated 143 lives - cutting the drinking and driving death toll in British Columbia by more than half (51 per cent).
The figures, which cover the first 30 months of B.C.'s Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program, are the lowest ever recorded. In that time, fatalities due to drinking and driving have dropped to an average of 56 per year. This compares to a five-year average of 114 before the IRP program came into effect in September 2010.
Government introduced its IRP legislation in response to research that indicated progress in reducing drinking and driving had stalled, despite increased enforcement and significant efforts to promote awareness. At the time, government stated its goal to reduce drinking and driving fatalities by 35 per cent by the end of 2013 - a goal that was exceeded in the first year of implementation.
Enforcement continues to emphasize the deterrent and life-saving value of the IRP approach, but some British Columbians still aren't getting the message. In the first four months of 2013, police throughout B.C. served 5,638 IRPs. This includes 3,860 to drivers who blew in the "fail" range (i.e., with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 per cent or over) or refused to provide a breath sample, plus 1,778 to drivers who blew in the "warn" range of 0.05 to 0.08 per cent.
* Between Sept. 20, 2010, and April 31, 2013, police issued more than 47,506 IRPs. This includes 30,031 to drivers who blew in the "fail" range or refused to provide a breath sample, plus 17,475 to drivers who blew in the "warn" range.
* From a road safety perspective, key changes the IRP program brought included clear, certain sanctions and the ability for police to impose a driving ban longer than 24 hours immediately and without needing to take drivers to the detachment or station.
* Amendments to the original IRP law came into effect June 15, 2012. These changes increased fairness at the roadside and in the appeal process, but did not alter the range or severity of the immediate sanctions that a drinking driver may face.
Further information on alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities is at:
A fact sheet outlining the IRP is at:
A summary of IRP penalties is at:
Read about the first-year effectiveness of IRPs:
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013