Stringent new drunk driving laws have been whittling away at road death numbers in British Columbia. As we have noted, a 2010 law lowered the permissible blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers from .08 to .05 percent. The province also imposed tougher penalties on those convicted of DUI offenses, including fines, suspensions, and vehicle impounds.
One family says that the province is not going far enough. Ken and Eileen Roffel lost their son to a drunk driver in 1996. The driver spent no time in jail. Since then the Roffel family has campaigned for a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving for all of Canada.
Ken Roffel points to Sweden and Finland, where the legal BAC limit is .02 per cent. Some countries even have a limit of zero. The goal of Roffel’s campaign is for the government to prohibit drinking and driving at any level, so that drivers do not have to guess whether or not they are sober enough to drive.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada) has encouraged citizens who support zero tolerance to contact their MPs. But changing DUI laws is a long process, and some doubt that the will is there to reduce BAC limits even further. Still, the Roffel family is determined. They place a newspaper ad each year publicize the campaign, and keep alive the memory of a young man who died senselessly at the hands of a drunk driver, as four Canadians do every day.