Elk Valley RCMP are calling the changes in drink driving laws a success after statistics were released that showed a drop in drunk drivers.
In the Elk Valley, the number of impaired driving investigations nearly halved in 2012 compared to the previous year.
Between January 1 2011 and November 29 2011, there were 109 cases, but only 59 in the same time period in 2012.
“Impaired driving has definitely gone down in the Elk Valley,” said Sgt. Will Thien from the Elk Valley RCMP. “The immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) has been a great tool to use in cracking down on offenders. The number of Immediate Roadside Prohibitions we have issued has also gone down, and not because we are not looking for offenders anymore. I really think the message is getting through to people.”
Between January 1 2011 and November 29 2011, 30 IRPs were issued, but only 11 were issued in the same time period in 2012.
“I think people are more aware of the IRP now and it has had a tremendous impact,” said Sgt. Thien.
“However it is still an issue. We don’t want to see any impaired drivers on the roads.”
Province-wide, an estimated 104 lives have been saved since the provincial government introduced the tough new impaired driving law two years ago.
In the five years before the immediate roadside prohibition program, there were an average of 114 people killed a year in alcohol-related collisions. In the first year of the program, 66 were killed in alcohol-related crashes; in the second year, 58. The reduction in deaths in those two years compared to the average is 104.
Drivers who are impaired in B.C. face immediate penalties that can include impounding their vehicle, temporarily losing their licence, and fines and fees ranging from $600 to $4,000.