EDITORIAL: New laws promise to make roads safer

Police kick off CounterAttack campaign across Capital Region

The lights twinkle from the homes and shops as you drive by, sidewalks are abuzz with the hustle and bustle of people in a hurry to keep up with the frantic pace of the season. And that’s all the more reason to take a moment to pause before you get behind the wheel – or if you’ve indulged in a bit of the holiday cheer, forgo getting behind the wheel at all.

Police have kicked off the CounterAttack campaign for the holiday season, bringing road checks to highways and byways across the Capital Region. And this year police will have one more weapon in their arsenal.

New laws which take effect Dec. 18 allow police to conduct a breath test on any driver who has been stopped at a road check without requiring a suspicion that the person had been drinking.

READ: Compulsory breath tests take effect

“This is one of the most significant changes to the laws related to impaired driving in more than 40 years and is another way that we are modernizing the criminal justice system,” said federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The new rules are aimed at stopping drivers who deny consuming alcohol, which could potentially prevent police from forming the reasonable suspicion to require the driver to take an alcohol screening test. Minimum fines and maximum penalties have also been increased under the new laws.

Impaired driving remains a leading cause of fatal car crashes, with an average of 68 lives lost every year in B.C.

In 2017, there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents reported by the police, including almost 3,500 drug-impaired driving incidents.

READ: Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

So now there’s even less reason to get behind the wheel after indulging in the Christmas spirits. Call a friend, hop on a bus, take a taxi – just don’t take a chance that could destroy the Christmas of so many, including your own.

The flashing lights are a beautiful sight at this time of year, unless you’re looking at them in the rear-view mirror.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

No one injured in suspicious Victoria boat fire, say investigators

Victoria police and fire personnel called to blaze on waters near Selkirk Trestle May 22

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

VIDEO: Saanich police tackle man who refused to move off Trans-Canada Highway

At this point, it is unclear why the man refused to move

Crime stats show a shift in Oak Bay during COVID-19

Thefts from automobiles, marinas up this spring

Kelowna man charged with animal cruelty

The 20-year-old Kelowna man is accused of harming a hamster

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

CVRD testing Shawnigan water after complaints of metallic taste, odour

“This type of problem has come up a number of times in summers in the past”

COVID-19 cases next to nil on Vancouver Island

Only one COVID-19 patient being treated at Island Health’s hospitals

Most Read