British Columbia

Impaired driving deaths drop 40% in B.C.

Impaired driving deaths have decreased sharply in B.C. since the introduction of the toughest drinking-driving laws in the country.
The B.C. government says the number of deaths on the road have dropped because of its drunk-driving laws, reports the CBC's Meera Bains 2:07

The B.C. government says its tough new drinking and driving laws have cut alcohol-related deaths on provincial roads by 40 per cent over the last year.

The laws brought in last fall are considered Canada's toughest roadside penalties for impaired driving and include the immediate impounding of vehicles.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond says for the first time in a decade, there's been a real drop in deaths associated with impaired driving in B.C.

The government says preliminary data shows 68 people died in alcohol-related vehicle crashes between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30 this year, compared to 113 deaths on average in each of the previous five years.

During the period, police imposed immediate roadside driving bans on 23,366 drivers and impound 20,020 vehicles, with most of the drivers losing their vehicles for 30 days.

The penalties also include fines and other costs to drivers ranging from $600 to about $4,000.