B.C. above national average in drunk-driving report 0
The head of the B.C. Chiefs of Police Association on Thursday credited successful legislative changes as the reason the province’s officers had the time to tag 49% more drunk drivers over a decade.
Citing newly released Statistics Canada figures, Insp. Brad Haugli said traffic officers can now conduct exponentially more drinking-driving investigations after B.C. laws were changed in 2010. The change gave police powers to hand out immediate roadside penalties (IRP) instead of the more time-consuming option of pursuing criminal charges.
“A criminal code investigation for impaired driving could take hours. An IRP investigation at the roadside takes minutes. It’s now alleviating more time for the police to be proactive,” he said Thursday.
While the reported number of impaired drivers has risen between 2001 to 2011, Haugli said, he’s also seen a 30% to 40% reduction in drunk driving deaths since 2010.
The Abbotsford-Mission metropolitan area, at the same time, saw the largest jump in police-spotted infractions, soaring 138%.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said there have been a higher number of drunk drivers on the road in the Valley city. Police have increased their enforcement accordingly, he said.
“One glaring public safety issue that we have still yet to conquer as a community is road safety and impaired driving,” he said. “Our No. 1 priority in 2013 is exactly that.”
In the Vancouver metropolitan area, the number of impaired driving incidents increased 50%. Meanwhile, the national rate in the 10-year period dropped 2%.