B.C.'s tough laws have decreased drinking and driving deaths by an unprecedented 52 per cent, three years after they were launched in memory of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer.
The Province originally set its goal to reduce drinking and driving fatalities by 35 per cent by the end of 2013 when it launched the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program on Sept. 20, 2010, in honour of Alexa who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008.
The 52 per cent decrease by the end of last year represents 190 lives that have been saved since the legislation came into effect. Under the IRP program, drinking-and-driving fatalities have dropped significantly to an average of 54 a year, from a prior five-year average of 112.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton -
"This is a day to celebrate a law that is protecting B.C. families. Three years ago, we set a brave and ambitious target by promising to reduce drinking and driving fatalities by 35 per cent in Alexa's memory. I'm proud to say that together we beat that target and created real change through our approach to drinking and driving - and that is a promise made and a promise kept.
"What happened to Alexa was entirely preventable, and her family is one of many whose lives have been forever changed by drunk drivers. That's why we continue to focus on protecting families and the public's safety by discouraging drinking and driving on our roads."
Laurel Middelaer, Alexa's mother and road safety advocate -
"These results demonstrate that change is possible, and it is an achievement British Columbians can all be proud of. After decades of stagnant progress on reducing the number of preventable deaths caused by drinking and driving, as a community we've made significant and sustained changes. This is the result of a desire for the best and safest roads for our community, something that each British Columbian deserves. We are humbled by these results."
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) chief executive officer Andrew Murie -
"B.C. continues to set the bar for reducing drinking and driving and the related death toll on Canadian roads. Three years ago when the IRP program was introduced, we said it would better support both deterrence and enforcement, save lives and prevent hundreds of injuries each year. Clearly, the strategy is working and protecting British Columbians from harm."
- B.C. is recognized by the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) as the top-ranking province in Canada for its drinking and driving policies.
- A 2013 CARBC study says that, beyond the lives it has saved, B.C.'s drinking and driving law has also resulted in significant declines in injuries (23 per cent) and property damage (19.5 per cent).
- In a 2012 Roadside Alcohol and Drug Survey, 44 per cent fewer drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) 0.05 per cent and over - and nearly 60 per cent fewer drivers were at or over the Criminal Code threshold of 0.08 per cent - compared to the June 2010 survey conducted before the IRP program came into effect.
- Under the IRP program, the penalties for a "warn" IRP (0.05 BAC and above) include the immediate seizure of a driver's licence for at least three days, a three-day vehicle impoundment, and $200 administrative penalty.
- For a "fail" IRP (0.08 BAC and above), the penalties include the immediate seizure of a driver's licence for 90 days, a 30-day vehicle impoundment, and $500 administrative penalty.
- As of Dec. 31, 2013:
- More than 61,000 IRPs have been issued since the program's inception in September 2010.
- Of the total number of IRPs issued, over 22,000 drivers blew in the "warn" range and over 39,000 blew in the "fail" range, or refused to provide a sample.
Visit OSMV online: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/
B.C. Roadside Survey 2012: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/shareddocs/bc-roadside-report2012.pdf
CARBC news release on the effectiveness of B.C.'s drinking and driving law: http://www.carbc.ca/Portals/0/PropertyAgent/714/Files/332/130612MediaRelease.pdf
CARBC report on alcohol-related harms and costs: http://www.carbc.ca/Portals/0/PropertyAgent/558/Files/335/Bulletin%202013-08.pdf
U.S. Public Broadcasting Service story about the IRP program's success in B.C.: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law-jan-june14-vancouverdd_01-05/
Follow OSMV on Twitter @RoadSafetyBC (twitter.com)
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice