Government Review of New Impaired Driving Penalties
Enforcement action against drivers having a blood alcohol content over 50 mg% (.05) began in 1977 here in British Columbia. In my view, it didn't become a marked deterrent until the recent significant penalty increases imposed by amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act. People are finally making the choice not to drink and drive in numbers that are easily visible.
Throughout my policing career I knew that if I failed to convince a driver that I had just served a 24 hour suspension on to take alternative transportation home, I just had to wait out of sight and I would have a had a good chance of adding a driving while suspended charge to the incident. I also suspect that many who did find a different way home got up in the morning and drove to work despite the suspension.
Vehicle impoundment to go with the suspension in the early 2000's made this situation less likely to occur. Like many of my colleagues, this discretion was exercised more often than not as it was rare to find another person sober enough to drive in the vehicle.
I suggest the fact that the new rules have been applied in surprising numbers since September 20, 2010 means that the old rules were ineffective as a deterrent and the new legislation is still needed to deal with drivers who choose their convenience over our safety.
While I sympathize with the food and beverage industry, the mandatory Serving it Right Program has given them the necessary tools and knowledge to prepare and the courts have made it clear that it is their duty to make every effort to prevent a patron from driving while intoxicated.