There’s no denying that some of the harshest impaired driving laws in Canada are in British Columbia. Ever since the province brought in immediate roadside suspensions, also known as Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRP), there has been a hot debate over whether they’re too strict or even working to stop drunk drivers.
Although no one can say one way or another whether the laws are really working, one lawyer in Vancouver, Paul Doroshenko, has come out to say that the impaired driving laws are making his job easier when he represents serious impaired driving offenders. The reason? Police are botching more criminal investigations since they began issuing IRPs in 2010.
The problem as he sees it is that criminal impaired and Motor Vehicle Act investigations are different under the law, and they both have different procedures. He used a police officer starting an investigation under the Motor Vehicle Act as an example. The police officer would process the offender and ask him or her to take two breathalyzer tests. At that point the police officer realizes the offender did something else, like hit another vehicle, and that would be warrant a criminal investigation. Because you can’t require two breathalyzer tests under a criminal investigation, the investigation is already ‘botched.’
But the President of the BC Police Association thinks otherwise, and he’s stated that there could be more incorrectly investigated cases now than in 2010 because the laws were new back then. He’s also confident that new procedures and administrative processes are in place to keep police officers out on the streets stopping offenders instead of sitting behind a desk doing paperwork.
Doroshenko’s view came out right before ICBC released it’s report on whether they believe impaired driving laws and IRPs are working, so it’s safe to say that the debate over whether or not IRPs and harsh impaired driving laws shows no signs of slowing down in British Columbia.