Repeat bad drivers can expect dramatically longer prohibitions in B.C.

VICTORIA - Street racers and stunt drivers in British Columbia could lose their vehicles for up to 36 months as part of new penalties the province is imposing on bad drivers.

The Ministry of Public Safety says starting Dec. 1 prohibitions ranging from three to 36 months will replace existing 15-day penalties for those drivers and other repeat offenders.

The ministry says the same penalties could also be applied to a broader range of offences, including excessive speeding, driving without due care and attention and other high-risk behaviours.

RoadSafetyBC, the lead provincial agency responsible for road safety in the province, will set the length of each prohibition on a case-by-case basis, relying on the driver's record and details provided by police.

Officers will still be able to immediately impound vehicles for a minimum of seven days if drivers are caught racing or stunt driving, the ministry says in a news release.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says drivers posing the greatest risk to peoples' lives are often caught repeatedly, suggesting they are not taking consequences seriously.

"We're going to be scrutinizing their driving more closely and making sure the penalty fits," Farnworth says in the release.

"Racers who won't take their cars to the track can expect to walk or use public transit."

Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord, who is chair of the traffic safety committee within the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, says the group was consulted on the new approach and it believes it will make B.C.'s roads safer.

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