B.C. bars onside as impaired driving deaths drop
Representatives of B.C.'s restaurant association are giving up their fight against the province's tougher drinking and driving laws in light of the latest figures on impaired driving fatalities.
The provincial government announced Monday that in the first seven months of the new laws, B.C. recorded a 50 per cent drop in alcohol-related traffic deaths.
Statistics showed that 30 people died during that period, compared to an average of 61 deaths for the same period over the past five years.
The news has prompted B.C.'s Restaurant and Foodservices Association to end its lobbying efforts aimed at relaxing the laws to previous standards, according to the organization's president, Ian Tostenson.
"This is a battle that's not going to get anybody anywhere," Tostenson said Monday. "We're saving lives, we've had some time to think about how to adapt as an industry, so now it's time to move on and be part of the solution."
Drop in business
B.C. introduced the toughest impaired driving laws in Canada last fall, which dictate an immediate three-day driving ban for any driver recording a .05 blood alcohol level at a road-side stop.
Laws are even tougher and fines and related expenses much higher for anyone recording a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more.
The change in the law led to a reported drop in restaurant and bar business and demands that the government return to the previous drinking and driving regulations.
Tostenson said his industry will now look for ways to improve shuttle, taxi and bus service for bar and restaurant patrons.
With files from the CBC's Steve Lus