Victoria police chief applauds amended legislation around drinking and driving

Changes fortify appeal process for accused impaired drivers

Victoria’s police chief is relieved his officers, and their policing counterparts elsewhere in the province, can once again rely on B.C.’s tough drinking and driving laws, after amendments took effect last Friday.

“We think that this process has triggered a very positive change in people’s attitudes and people’s behaviour (toward impaired driving),” said Chief Const. Jamie Graham, chair of the traffic safety committee of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police.

Under the amended legislation governing immediate roadside prohibitions – which include driving bans, vehicle impoundments and fines – the rights of drivers wanting to challenge their breath test and appeal their penalties have been beefed up.

The Motor Vehicle Act laws governing this were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of B.C. last November. Since then the province has made changes to the rules that once again allow police to more efficiently tackle drunk driving, but which now strengthen the rights of accused drivers.

In addition to the strengthened administrative review process, police now must inform drivers that they can challenge the results of their first breath sample by providing a second sample on a different screening device.

The lower of the two readings now takes precedence, rather than the second reading trumping the first, as was the case before the changes.

To further bolster fairness for drivers, B.C.’s Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles will review the reliability of screening device results, and ensure police issued a driving ban based on the lowest reading.

Police are also now required to submit sworn reports on roadside prohibitions to the superintendent’s office, as well as documentation on the calibration of screening devices.

Before immediate roadside prohibitions were brought into force in September 2010, police relied on the Criminal Code to penalize impaired drivers, a paperwork-intensive process that delayed officers at the police station or in court.

Thanks to the amended legislation, police once again have at their disposal penalties that send a zero-tolerance message to impaired drivers, Graham said.

“In my view, this is the toughest impaired driving process in the country.”

In the year after the immediate roadside sanctions came into effect, there was a 40-per-cent decline in alcohol-related traffic deaths, according to the province.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Just Posted

West Shore resident, local officer encourages women to take control of their safety

Kris Greffard is posting short videos with safety tips for women using local trails and parks

Police and Indigenous communities pull together in 10-day canoe journey

Victoria Police Department, Ministry of Children and Family Development took part in Pulling Together Canoe Journey

Point Ellice House exhibit offers new lens into colonial history

The new ‘Politics of luxury’ display studies the wealthy O’Reilly family from several angles

Police incident closes Millstream northbound off-ramp

Traffic affected on Highway 1 was affected

Saanich Police receive another report of a cougar sighting

The big cat was spotted in the area near Saanich Road and Blanshard Street

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read