BC new driving rules Sept 20 2010

If you are going to be driving in British Columbia on September 20 2010 you need to be aware that the rules have changed.

First off, B.C. is getting tough on drunk drivers. B.C. has seen a rise in impaired driving offences, which went up 18% from 2008 to 2009. Statistics provided by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics has shown that alcohol-related crashes cause 115 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries in B.C. each year.

Here are some of the changes to the laws regarding impaired driving:

  • If your breath sample is above .08% blood-alcohol content (BAC) or if you refuse to provide a breath sample when asked then you get 90 day driving ban, effective immediately and a $500 fine. Your vehicle will immediately be impounded for 30 days. On top of that you may face criminal charges.
  • There is concern about the range between .05% and .08% BAC. The research has shown that a driver with this level of impairment is seven times more likely to be in a fatal crash then if they had not had a drink. So the new rules are that if you have been checked and caught twice in the warning range of between .05% and .08% BAC within five years then you get an immediate three day driving ban and a $200 fine. If it happens again then it is a seven day ban and a $300 fine. If you find yourself in this situation three times within five years then it is a 30 day ban and a fine of $400.

Speeders are also facing some changes. Impounding vehicles is a method that will be used for those travelling 40 km or more over the posted speed limit.

One of the changes to the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act is applying a seven day impoundment to reckless driving and careless driving charges. Examples would include doing wheelies and donuts or excessive tailgating.

B.C. issues about 10,000 tickets annually for excessive speeding. Effective September 20 2010, a charge of excessive speeding will automatically trigger a mandatory seven day impoundment for a first offence. A 30 day impoundment is levied for a second offence and 60 days for any further excessive speeding offences within two years. Yes, that is 60 days each and every time from the third offence on in a two year period.

Be warned that the impoundment is on top of the fines and adjustments to insurance which currently include:

  • Depending on how fast you are going a fine of $368 to $483.
  • Three points on a driver’s licence - abstract.
  • Insurance premiums will suffer a penalty of an ICBC driver-risk premium of $320 per year for the next three years, on top of what you are already paying.

Do you street race?

This is not a good idea, especially now that street racers are also affected by the new rules. Street racing differs from excessive speeding because it involves two or more vehicles trying to outdistance each other. In the past you would suffer a minimum impoundment period of 48 hours. Now both vehicles are subject to minimum automatic seven day impoundments.