British Columbia impaired driving laws have been a topic of hot debate over the past few years. When the province decided to crack down on drunk drivers, they pulled out all the stops – immediate license suspensions, vehicle towing, and interlock devices for drunk drivers who fail the breathalyzer test and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08.
But British Columbia impaired driving laws don’t stop there. They’ve also put into place penalties for drivers who are in the ‘warn’ range. That means if you blow into a breathalyzer device and receive a BAC reading of .05 to .08, you’ll immediately lose your license for 3 days, pay fines up to $200, have your vehicle impounded, and be responsible for all fees for towing and storage of your vehicle.
It’s the warn range penalties that some people in the province are opposed to, and the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear two cases from drivers who want to challenge these penalties. One driver received a warn range reading when he blew into a breathalyzer and was subject to an immediate license suspension. He took his case to the British Columbia Supreme Court where his roadside prohibition was dismissed. Unfortunately for the driver, his victory was short lived, because the British Columbia Court of Appeals overturned the Supreme Court decision, and they’ve upheld all immediate roadside bans for drivers. Now that same driver is hoping the Supreme Court of Canada will overturn British Columbia’s decision.
Not everyone is going to be happy with penalties as strict and immediate as those you’ll find if you drink and drive in British Columbia, but these penalties are put into place for the benefit and safety of everyone on the roads. Research has shown that buzzed driving can be just as dangerous as driving with a BAC over .08, so having immediate consequences for those in the warn range is a good idea.
The bottom line in British Columbia – the province has put penalties in place that recognize there is no safe amount of alcohol you can drink and still drive, so if you drink, stay away from the wheel of your vehicle.