British Columbia lawmakers caught a lot of flack for strengthening their impaired driving laws. Out of all the procedures and penalties that changed the Immediate Roadside Suspension (IRS), a law that requires a driver to lose his or her license for 3 days and have their vehicle towed has received a big thumbs-down from drinking drivers. It’s been so poorly received that a few offenders have gone all the way to the courts to get the law reversed.
But Vancouver police are starting to see some positive outcomes from strengthening impaired driving laws and Immediate Roadside Suspensions, and they’ve even begun to see a year-by-year decrease in suspensions. In 2013 there were 1,317 IRS, and that number dropped to 1,100 in 2014 and 1,030 in 2015. The Vancouver Police still think those numbers are high, and it all comes down to why people are continuing to make the choice to drink and drive.
The Vancouver Police think there are a lot of reasons why someone would make the decision to get behind the wheel drunk. Downtown Vancouver, like any downtown district, can have some areas where you’d never want to leave your vehicle. It can be difficult to get a taxi, and car services like Uber haven’t come in yet due to disputes with the British Columbia Taxi Association. There is also the long standing belief that the designated driver should be the person who is the least drunk in the group, but that can get people into real trouble because buzzed driving can cause crashes just like drunk driving.
Whatever your reason for driving drunk, the Vancouver Police want you to know that although you may not see a road block while you’re driving home, they are still out there watching. If the 1,000 Immediate Roadside Suspensions are any indication, they’re still stopping a lot of drunk drivers too.