BC's IRP Program Survives Another Court Challenge

Counsel for Lee Michael Wilson argued that the Approved Screening Device (ASD) result alone could not provide the officer with the reasonable grounds and that the officer was also required to point to other confirmatory evidence. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that this is not the case and dismissed the appeal of his Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP). The ruling supports the BC Motor Vehicle Act legislation that allows police to quickly and effectively remove impaired drivers from our highways.

If I understand correctly, the major complaint about the IRP is that the program does not allow the penalized driver immediate access to the courts to dispute a sanction. The first avenue of appeal is to an adjudicator in RoadSafetyBC, which is part of the government, instead. In reality, the adjudication process is an added layer that attempts to reduce the burden on the court system. Disputants unhappy with the adjudication may choose to have the courts review it for fairness, in this case right up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

There is no doubt in my mind that impaired driving is a very real threat to all road users. I feel this way after only being involved investgating offenders and the collisions that they caused. I continue to suffer the financial loss of insurance and taxes, but not the physical pain of injury. Nor am I subject to the continuing pain of those who lose or are required to support injured family and friends for life. I am pleased that the IRP has survived another challenge and look forward to it continuing to try and reduce the risk that others choose to subject us to by making a selfish choice.

It seems trite to repeat that if you drink or do drugs (prescription or illegal) that affect your ability to drive, don't drive! However, knowing how common it still is for police to to find an impaired driver, the message still needs to be hammered home. The IRP remains, for now, one of the "hammers" available to do the job.

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